Racism in Show biz – Thasni Salim

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The ghost of British colonialism is still wandering through Indian sub continent. The British who consider Indians as slave because of their complexion left India before 7 decades but its effects are still visible in many sectors especially in show biz.
The national award winner and one of the finest actor of Bollywood Nawasuddin Siddiqui recently posted on twitter saying that he felt colour discrimination in Bollywood industry. On his tweet he explained that “Thank you for making me realise that I cannot be paired along with the fair and handsome because I am dark and not good looking, but I never focus on that”. Many actors including Tapsee Pannu, Nanditha Das and Tannishtha Chatterjee supported him and responded the post.
The whole discussion started with the statement of casting director of Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, Sanjay Chouhan, Nawazuddin’s upcoming release, said in an interview that he couldn’t cast “fair and handsome” people with the actor. Chouhan’s statement suggests that even in 2017, actors are cast based on their skin tone rather than their performances.
Looking back to 2013, the Bollywood film Ranjhanaa starring the south Indian superstar Dhanush with the ‘fair and cute’ Sonam Kapoor make a murmuring in theatres. The society obsessed with this fair concept than the talent can never accept the talented and National award winner that time.
The society had a feeling that only ‘fairness’ can make a person successful in film industry. Many talents who wished to become a star got demotivation because of their colour and sometimes had to face insults.
The show business which is one of the most engaged and expensive field of business handles crores and crores of rupees each hour. But the country where colour is sold in each point, this field is also not different. From big screen to mini screens, from advertisement to cut-out we search some thing which is fair in complexion. May be this the reason for the actors of our ads are imported from other countries. The colour is a matter not only in Bollywood but also in major subsectors of film industry in India. The colour sense is very prevalent in advertising sector. The promotion and sale of beauty products and indulging a sense of colour in the minds of audience is one of the major contribution of advertising industry.
The society where colour of skin is dominating over talent many persons will discourage from achieving their dreams. The change in the basic attitude of the society only can make a change here.
From racism to sexism, every dirty business is accused over this colourful industry. The superheroine Anushaka Sarma recently commented on an interview that the heroines had to remain young and fair to stay in the industry. Else they will get dumped. “Men can work as long as they want to even when they’ve aged. They’re still amazing and cool. And I have no problem with that. But why is that women are only okay when they’re “young and desirable”? There’s a sexual connotation attached,” Anushka commented in an interview. Few years before she made a similar comment about sexism in Bollywood.
The actors who can be paired with much younger actress and the actress in her mid 40s had to play the role of old ladies or as supporting roles are also read along with Anushka’s comment.
The industry is passing through a transition period these days. Many female centric films receive huge audience support. Kangana Ranaut, Priyanka Chopra, Vidhya Balan, Manju Warrior, Jyotika, Sreedevi etc came out with female centeic films and the nation accepted this whole heartedly. But in majority of the films the women are aimed at cheering the ‘super human’ heroes.
There should have a serious consideration on these accusations. The time we live should be a period of transformation. The real talent should be identified and encouraged based on their capability not on their age or colour of the skin.

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