María Elena Velasco - Rural Representation

Rural Representation

Just as the popular rural-based American comedies of Ma and Pa Kettle and The Beverly Hillbillies, Velasco has made a highly popular comedic representation of rural Mexico as a typical Mexican indigenous woman named "Maria" who is often confused by urban life. The character she portrays is dressed in traditional garb consisting of traditionally braided and ribboned hair, colorful native-type blouses and skirts. In her films, she often goes out of her way to speak at least a few lines in native languages, such as Chichimeca and Nahuatl. Although she may be ignorant about some things, Maria is wise about peoples' ways and ideas.

Velasco has said publicly that she wants India María to represent Mexico's poor social classes, and she has tried to carry out social messages in most of the movies she has made. Velasco invented the India María character in 1972 for Mexican TV network Telesistema Mexicano (now Televisa) for a comic segment of the weekly program Siempre en domingo. It quickly became a hit and in the same year, Velasco began starring in an enormously successful series of low-budget comedies that became a mainstay in Mexican movie theaters through the mid-1980s.

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