The Family Man 2 creators Raj and DK say Samantha Akkineni 'brown face' criticism is 'hard to hear'
Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, the creators of Amazon Prime Video's The Family Man, have said that it is 'hard to hear' about the allegations of racism that have been directed at Samantha Akkineni's character, Raji, in the second season of the show. They defended themselves against the criticism by saying that the decision to give Samantha a darker complexion can't be compare to the 'black face' -- a white actor playing a Black character.
In an interview, the filmmaker duo said that in Raji's case, it is a Tamil actor playing a Tamil character, and that the idea of beauty is not even a part of the conversation. The second season of The Family Man released to positive response from critics and fans on June 4.
"The name itself -- brown face -- is hard to hear, even for us, it's harsh to hear," Raj told The Quint. "Black face, we've grown up reading about it, seeing it. I get it when race is involved, and you get a white person to play a Black person, or a brown person to play... It's a different point when you get a Tamil actress to play a Tamil (character). The idea is to get somebody fit for the role. The colour of skin is usually used in the context of beauty. That context is not in our series. She's a warrior, that's it. And how do they look? They are weather-beaten, they have sun-tanned faces, they don't have time to look in the mirror, they don't have time to go to the spa. The idea is that she's a girl who's been living that life, and that's it. It is the right get-up for that character."
DK added, "It is not different from her being fit for the role. So she actually trained for a few months, because she's a trained commando, she's a militant. And she had to learn marial arts, and she had to learn a certain dialect. So everything is a part of that character that we're creating. This is not an insult, or anything bad in any sense, because we are not looking at it as in, it is in any way that... We are just showing the person as she is. She's a beautiful person and she's done a great job. If you love the character you love the character. There is no statement made any other way."
Raji is a Sri Lankan Tamil who is at the centre of an assassination plot in season two of The Family Man. She is the primary antagonist to Manoj Bajpayee's Srikant Tiwari. A third season is being planned.