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How’s my skin tone a joke? asks Tannishtha Chatterjee

Tannishtha Chatterjee speaks about a recent controversy surrounding her skin colour; expresses concerns on the state of art-house cinema

tv Updated: Oct 02, 2016 12:50 IST
Kaushani Banerjee
Kaushani Banerjee
Hindustan Times
Tannishtha Chatterjee,Krushna Abhishek,Comedy Nights Bachao
Tannishtha Chatterjee says that prejudice is the base of jokes about skin colour.

Tannishtha Chatterjee recently walked out from the sets of Comedy Nights Bachao after host Krushna Abhishek made inappropriate comments about her skin colour as part of the ‘roast’. Her subsequent Facebook post about the incident has been making news.

Commenting on the issue, the actor says, “Initially, I thought it’s not based on gender. But I am learning new things. Turns out, a lot of men criticised my post. In India, the idea of colour bias is historically related to ideas of caste and class. It’s easy to trivialise the issue and say it was a joke.”

She further adds, “Sadly, the organisers still don’t understand my point. But if you are finding this funny, it means you are prejudiced. How’s my skin tone a joke?”

(Photo: Vicky Agarwal)

When asked if she had earlier encountered such biases in the industry, Tannishtha says, “It happens, in a subtle way. I’ve always felt the undercurrent of colour bias, but this sort of blatant disregard is something I’ve never faced. I reacted this way because it was shocking to me that this is happening in 2016.”

Host Krushna Abhishek’s jokes did not go down well with Tannishtha Chatterjee.

This year has been quite hectic with six projects for Tannishtha. She tells us, “The journey has been interesting and I’ve enjoyed playing different kinds of roles. But it’s not that easy to get good scripts. Given my body of work, I don’t get impressed easily. It has to be something that pushes my boundaries. I’m also looking forward to co-write and enact in a play later this year.”

Talking about the changing audiences for art films, the 35-year-old says, “A few years back, I won a National Award for one my films, Dekh Indian Circus (2011), but it never released in India, neither did Brick Lane (2007) or Shadows of Time (2004). I think, at least now, we have an audience that is willing to see a Masaan (2015), Court (2015) and Island City. The younger audiences are evolving and looking at films that are not only Bollywood.” But she is quick to point out what plagues the genre as well. “These days nothing is treated as an art form. Everything is treated as a commodity or a product and all products are not priced the same. A Mercedes-Benz and a Maruti Suzuki are not priced similarly, so then why is it that a Sultan and an Island City have the same ticket price? That really makes art-house films suffer,” says the actor.

First Published: Oct 02, 2016 12:02 IST