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Rajkummar Rao on colour bias in Bollywood: I was rejected for the role of a Parsi as I am not fair

Speaking on a programme called Tape Cast, Rajkummar Rao spoke at length about how the fair skin obsession was still prevalent in Bollywood.

bollywood Updated: Dec 21, 2017 15:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rajkummar Rao,Rajkummar Yadav,Farah Khan
Rajkummar Rao and Farah Khan were asked questions which were recorded in cassettes.

Rajkummar Rao is the latest actor to talk about the biases that exist in Bollywood. In a programme called Tape Cast, Farah and Rajkummar are in conversation with each other with a set of cassettes with questions for them.

He spoke at length about how the fair skin obsession is still prevalent in Bollywood. There some fun moments too - he was asked what is the one rumour he’d love to hear? As Farah joked about him wanting to hear that Katrina and Deepika are fighting over him, he said he love to hear that Martin Scorcese and Steven Spielberg are fighting over him.

Rajkummar was asked about his early years in the film industry and how he was rejected due to his skin colour. To which Rajkummar said, “I didn’t use Fair and Lovely. I was very proud of my skin colour. How does it matter? I am here to sell my fairness? I used to laugh actually. I found those people very ignorant, so regressive. They are still stuck in that era -- hero matlab gora chitta, 6 foot.”

Rajkummar Rao, Farah Khan aur cassette player...

Farah remarked, “But to play a Parsi, you have to at least look Parsi, no?”

“See Pestonjee, Naseer sa’ab has played a Parsi,” answered Rajkummar.

Farah replied, “But he has a Parsi nose. He can look exactly Parsi and behaves Parsi also.”

To this, Rajkummar had an answer ready. “But I can look Parsi, na. But don’t you think I can play that? What do you think?”

After a moment’s silence, Farah replied, “Yes, you can play.”

At one point, Farah remarked that to play a Parsi, one had to, at least, look a Parsi.

Rajkummar went on, “but there is conditioning of mind -- Parsi hai, toh gora hi hoga -- I have a problem with that”.

Farah said, “But sometimes it is also to do with how you look. If you are playing an African-American, you can’t play it.”

Rajkummar, however, gave the example of Robert Downey Jr who once played a role of an African-American in a film called Tropic Thunder. He told Farah that acting has no limit.

To which Farah mentioned how he couldn’t play a Nepali. However, Rajkummar had a reply for that too - he gave the example of Aamir Khan who played a Nepali in an advertisement.

See the interaction here:

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First Published: Dec 21, 2017 11:22 IST