Dear Bollywood, Please Stop Practicing Fair & Lovely Racism

We have witnessed an episode involving Abhay Deol and Sonam Kapoor over celebrities endorsing fairness creams in India. However, let me remind you that these two actors were paired opposite each other in 2013 film Raanjhana. The good thing about this controversy is that it has forced people to talk about an important issue otherwise neglected.

Abhay Deol deserves all the praise for bringing this important issue to the fore. Can you imagine there was a time when we didn’t even realize that those ads were racist, demeaning and false? Those ads had successfully created an impression that one should be ashamed of one’s skin tone.

Is it a new issue?

No. Luckily for us, there were many celebrities who came forward to talk about it in the past. As a result, most of the leading stars refused to endorse such products. Nandita Das has spoken out about this issue several times.

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Kangana would rather be unfair & lovely

Among the Bollywood stars, Kangana Ranaut, is someone who took on the fairness brigade like a badass. She flatly refused a 2 crore deal to endorse a fairness cream brand.

Other celebrities who joined the fight

Ranbir Kapoor, Swara Bhaskar and Upen Patel have turned down offers from fairness cream brands. Randeep Hooda is another actor who was critical of these brands. He said that men should be tall, dark and handsome and not tall, fair and handsome. Well said, Randeep!

What is shocking here?

Considering it is a ‘been there, done that’ kind of controversy, I was under the false impression that most of the Bollywood stars have turned their backs on such brands after heavy backlash over the years. As it turns out, I was completely wrong. It seems like nothing has changed. From the series of pictures Abhay posted on his Facebook wall, it’s evident that Bollywood stars are still at it. May be it is high time for celebrities to be cautious about the kinds of brands they want to endorse.

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Our take?

Fair skin tone doesn’t make one superior. Your intelligence, culture, personality, values, manners and humanity decide your worth. There’s nothing to be ashamed of being brown. It’s really appalling to see that we are still talking about this issue. It’s irresponsible for Bollywood celebrities to sign these brands just for money. Can we hope that these celebrities will think twice before signing such brands in the future?

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by Aravind Shivaraman