Bollywood is largely flawed. The objectification of female protagonists is known by all. The allegations of Nepotism have engulfed the whole Bollywood cabal. Talking about flaws, the anti-national and woke agendas are something that cannot be ignored.
Apart from the above flaws, we have more in the bucket.
Brown skin girl, ya skin just like pearls
The best thing in all the world
These are the lyrics from the song “Brown Skin Girl”. However, Bollywood does not seem to understand this. It is obsessed with fair skin. Mind you, it’s not just a claim but we have certain proofs to support it.
Fair is ‘unfair’
The promotion of colourism in Bollywood is quite evident. Its fascination with fair skin is a trend that doesn’t seem to fade anytime soon.
For instance, while casting an actor, it is kept in mind that the actor needs to be fair. And many of the times, the talent is damned. Renowned actresses like Smita Patil and Nandita Das have been the victim of colourism in the industry.
Read more: Why a ‘feminist’ Bollywood is always found guilty of objectifying females
You see, it’s not just the female protagonist but the males too are the victim of this unfair parameter of ‘fairness’. Actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Dhanush have reportedly faced many challenges as they were labelled ‘unfit’ for the “conventional hero” look.
While many are hopeful that an evolution is underway, Bollywood’s casting is still done based on their skin colour.
Richa Chadha agrees that one gets called ‘unconventional, dusky, sexy’, but she’s quick to add, “Only once I was rejected for a role because the director insisted on having a ‘fair and homely’ actress. I really think things are changing and I hope actors no longer face discrimination because of their colour. About a decade ago, when I’d audition for ads, we were told very categorically that the skin care ads would only go to foreign models because they’re fair.”
Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, in an interview, had slammed this obsession with fair skin and good looks. He had reportedly revealed that he was rejected for being “dark and not good looking”.
Read more: As Bollywood remained in the awe of star kids, OTT brought forth real actors
Adil Hussain, also reported that the change is happening but it’s painfully slow. “I think such biases can be best addressed by art. Cinema is being an art form can influence mindset. So, we must become the moral compass of the society and help evolve for better over these biases against fair, dark, LGBTQ, dwarfs etc. We sometimes crack jokes on such issues because we’ve normalised them. We need to create enough awareness and representation on the screen.”
Poor casting because of the obsession
In the aftermath of the ‘unfair’ fascination with fair skin, the actors like Alia Bhatt and Hrithik Roshan are cast to portray the dark-complexioned protagonist. It happens despite having merely any feature fitting perfectly with the role. For instance, you must have seen Udta Punjab and Super 30. If not, there are other movies and series too, like Bala and The Family Man. While Alia Bhatt, who, by the way, is a fair-skinned actor, was playing the character of a drug addict poor girl.
Wait! If you are thinking that Bollywood does not have dark-skinned actors, you are wrong. The actors like Konkana Sen Sharma, Nandita Das, Anupriya are among those prominent actors who have been gaining love for a long time for their exceptional talent.
On several occasions, light-skinned actors are cast for dark-skinned roles and their skin darkened such as Hrithik Roshan in Super 30 and Samantha in The Family Man.
Why not cast a dark-complexioned actor instead?
Demeaning lyrics of the songs
How many of you are aware of the recent controversy around a song titled “Tujhe Dekh K Goriya, Beyonce Sharma Jaegi” (Beyonce will be ashamed when she sees you oh fair lady). The song was filmed on Ananya Pandey and Ishan Khattar. Soon after the launch, the video angered the netizens, and widespread criticism was witnessed due to its racist undertones. The singer-actor Beyoncé’s name was dragged unnecessarily.
But it is not just this song that hurt the sentiments of all the dark-skinned people in India and the world. The term “goriya”, which means a fair girl are wrongly considered synonyms for “girl” in numerous hit songs like “Chura ke dil mera goriya chali”, “Goriya Churana Mera Jeeya”, “Goriya Re Goriya Re” and many more over the years.
Bollywood has fans all over the world and people literally idealise the stars. It has the power to influence young minds. It also has the power to raise voices against sensitive challenging issues like domestic violence, crime against women, colourism, sexism, and casteism. Thus, it becomes the cinema’s responsibility to help India awaken against all such odds.
On the contrary, it is promoting all the social evils. It is high time that Bollywood understands that dark skin is as normal and beautiful as fair skin. It needs to shun this regressive mindset and rather should begin embracing the dark skin.