Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Bridgerton Season 2!
Bridgerton has long been praised for its beautiful costumes and addictive plot, but the show — which is set during the Regency period in London — has also gained a lot of fans for its diverse characters and cast.
In particular, the casting of Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma (known as Kate Sheffield in Julia Quinn's novels) was seen as a huge win for representation, allowing many South Asians to finally feel "seen" in the entertainment industry.
With the Sharma family now having an Indian background (in contrast to the books), I was more excited than ever to see how the events of Season 2 would play out — and to be honest, I was not disappointed. It was a breath of fresh air to see Kate alongside Edwina, her sister (played by Charithra Chandran), and Lady Mary, her mother (played by Shelley Conn), add another dimension and layer of culture to the world of Bridgerton.
Throughout the episodes, there are subtle but significant details weaved in to represent the Sharmas' Indian culture. Here are all the ones I spotted and their meanings!
1.For starters, Kate's surname, "Sharma," has a deeper meaning. In Sanskrit (a classical Indian language), it can mean "joyfulness", "comfort", and "happiness", which could reference the blissful union between Kate and Anthony.
2.In the first episode, Kate talks about Edwina's many accomplishments and skills, which include playing a number of musical instruments and speaking several languages.
3.Throughout the series, both Kate and Edwina refer to their dad as "appa", which means "father" in Tamil.
4.There's also an instance of Kate referring to her birth mother as "amma", which means "mother" in Tamil.
5.Plus, Edwina continually refers to Kate as "didi", which means "older sister" in Hindi.
6.Kate expresses her distaste for English tea to Lady Danbury, which, as an Indian, I think is one of the funniest lines this season.
7.And she even goes so far as to make her own cup of masala chai while visiting the Bridgertons with her family at Aubrey Hall.
8.The styling of Kate, Edwina, and Lady Mary was most likely inspired by Indian fabrics, jewellery, and designs.
9.In particular, the extensive beadwork on the Sharmas' ball dresses is reminiscent of formal saris and lehengas worn in India.
10.Another Indian ritual featured in Bridgerton is the practice of oiling one's hair, which Kate does for Edwina in Episode 3.
11.There's a reference to India's summer monsoon, which is the most prominent of the world's monsoon systems. Many industries rely on the yearly summer rain to water crops, keep animals healthy and well fed, fill up wells, and generate electricity through hydroelectric power plants.
12.Just before meeting with the Queen, Kate and Anthony's pinkies reach out to each other. This is not only a symbolic representation of their longing to be together, but also references a South Indian wedding ritual.
13.Speaking of Indian wedding customs, Bridgerton beautifully showcases the haldi ceremony during Edwina's impending nuptials to Anthony.
14.During this scene, there are also flower garlands strewn in the background, which are meant to represent excitement, happiness, and beauty.
15.A cover version of the title track from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, a popular Bollywood film, was used for the music during the haldi ceremony.
16.In southern India, brides wear green-coloured glass bangles (which signify luck and fertility) and golden bangles (which signify fortune). It's why Kate gives Edwina her mother's green bangles for the wedding ceremony.
17.And lastly, when declaring his love for Kate in the Bridgerton finale, Anthony used her traditional Indian name and called her Kathani.
A huge shoutout to Bridgerton for highlighting the beauty of Indian culture this season. I would also like to acknowledge that this representation may not reflect every Indian person's experiences or hit the right notes for others — and that's totally okay. This is hopefully a start to more diverse content on our screens!