The fairness battle: Actors who refused moolah to fight racism
Hrithik Roshan, one of the most loved actors of Bollywood, has bagged an advertisement deal with FMCG major Emami. The Krrish star will endorse men's grooming range Fair and Handsome for the company.
As Indians, we hate being branded as 'coloured people'. We call it racism. But that doesn't stop us from spending half our lives trying to figure out ways to turn fairer! Be it the grandma's remedies of turmeric and gram flour or the fairness creams, many amongst us are still obsessed with a fair skin.
What is worse is that advertisements for fairness products not only associate beauty with a lighter skin tone but also with success, something which gets reinforced when you have celebs like Shah Rukh Khan, John Abraham, Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone, to name just a few, endorsing them.
Other actors who endorse fairness products include Sushant Singh Rajput, Shahid Kapoor, Yami Gautam, Dia Mirza, Asin, and Kareena Kapoor.
Against the fairness brigade:
But for every such big name who has or is endorsing fairness products, there are others of their fraternity who have said no to it.
Talking about endorsing fairness creams, actor Randeep Hooda had earlier told Hindustan Times, "It's a colonial hangover to be fair. India, as a country, has an obsession with fairness, whereas the entire world is lying under the sun and getting a tan. I think men should be tall, dark and handsome and not tall, fair and handsome."
Randeep Hooda as Charles Shobhraj from his upcoming film Main Aur Charles.
Kangana Ranaut doesn't regret turning down such an offer. Reacting to rumours that she was offered a Rs 2 crore deal for endorsing a fairness cream, Kangana Ranaut had said, "Ever since I was a kid, I have never understood the concept of fairness. Especially, in such a case, as a celebrity, what kind of an example would I be setting for younger people? I have no regrets about turning this offer down. As a public figure, I have responsibilities."
Bigg Boss 8 contestant Upen Patel, too, has refused to endorse a fairness cream. Talking to Debasmita Ghosh (Hindustan Times), Upen said, "This fair skin obsession has to be discouraged. It's so regressive to put a value, negative or positive, to skin colour. Things like these are actually seeds of racism and they only promote low self-esteem. I believe in loving yourself just the way you are; dark, dusky or wheatish - you're perfect. "
Ranbir Kapoor, too, has reportedley refused fairness cream endorsement, reiterating that such products only make racist stereotypes, which already exist in our society, grow stronger roots.
Raanjhana actor Swara Bhaskar rejected the idea of endorsing fairness products claiming that the obsession with fair skin needs to be discouraged as it reeks of racism.
Actor Nandita Das, often described as a 'dusky' actress, is a "champion of colour".
In her blog, 'When Fair is Lovely', she writes, "I am shocked to see the rise in the number of fairness creams, dark actresses looking paler and paler with every film and magazines, hoardings, films and advertisements showing only fair women". She has endorsed a campaign against the obsession for fairness, titled Dark Is Beautiful.