By Bhanvi Satija:
While travelling in the metro the other day, I spotted a baby and I remember exclaiming to myself how cute she was. Just then, the girl standing right next to me told her friend, “Oye! Look at that baby. She is so dark yaar. I only like babies who are fair.”
The idea that only fair is beautiful, is something that all of us have grown up with – as products like Fair n Lovely and Fair n Handsome dominated our television. Many Bollywood actors, for the longest time, have also chosen to endorse these products. But thankfully, this idea seems to be changing. Kangana Ranaut, the ‘Queen’ of Bollywood, recently turned down an offer to endorse a fairness cream.
While many actors like John Abraham, Shah Rukh Khan, Shahid Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, and Yami Gautam make large amounts of money by endorsing fairness products, Kangana refused to join the bandwagon. “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,” says Kangana to Hindustan Times, who was apparently offered a sum of Rs. 2 crores to become the face of the product. She adds “My sister is dusky yet beautiful. If I go ahead and become a part of this campaign, then, in a way, I would be insulting her. If I can’t do something like this to my own sister, how can I think of doing it to the entire nation?”
With this move, she adds her name to the list of actors who have turned down similar offers and continue resisting the idea of fair equals beautiful. Ranbir Kapoor, Swara Bhaskar, Upen Patel, Randeep Hooda and Nandita Das are a few other names on this list. While talking about endorsing fairness products, Randeep Hooda was quoted saying “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.” Nandita Das, who endorses the campaign Dark is Beautiful, was also quoted last year saying “We keep saying things like, ‘Uska rang saaf hai’ while referring to fair-skinned people; it’s as if dark skin is a dirty thing. This mindset is then propagated in our songs, stories, myths and fables.”
Meanwhile, in ‘Land of Reality‘, Hrithik Roshan just bagged an advertisement deal with FMCG major Emami. Thus, we can say that for every big name endorsing fairness products, there is another saying no it.