The National Award winning actor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, known for films like Gangs of Wasseypur, went up the Bollywood success ladder the hard way comes from a small village in UP. He, in a tweet, slammed the Indian showbiz industry for its fixation with fair skin and promoting racism.
Talking about the discrimination he has faced in the Hindi film industry over appearance, he wrote:
“Thank you for making me realise that I cannot be paired along with the fair and handsome because I am dark and not good looking, but I never focus on that,”
Siddiqui’s tweet has attracted considerable media and celeb attention. Popular Bollywood celebrities like Nandita Das, Taapsee Pannu and Tannishtha Chatterjee have lent their support to the actor and said that not only the film industry but racism happens all over India.
Here’s what celebs had to say!
Tapsee Pannu: “We are a colour-obsessed nation selling fairness creams in high volumes. Our matrimonial columns till date have a mention of skin colour. So let’s not target only the film industry.”
Nandita Das: “I am sure it is no surprise to anyone that Nawazuddin’s skin colour would have impeded his career. All around us the images of women and now increasingly of men, are those with light skin. Be it films, television, magazines, hoardings, ads… Everywhere we have ‘fair’ people, in a country that is largely dark!
Every skin care product has a skin lightening element. Dark skinned people are often made to feel inadequate… right from their childhood. I can see the challenges that Nawazuddin must have faced in his career. After he has been around for over 10 years, it is his sheer talent and perseverance that has made him overcome this prejudice.”
Anshuman Jha: “I am offered unconventional roles. But I personally haven’t faced any racism in this industry. But this industry is all about how good you look, and therefore discrimination is bound to exist. In the West, the black American actor Jamie Foxx can be paired opposite any leading lady. Here the criterion for casting is how compatible he or she looks like the other actor instead of performing abilities.”
Tannishtha Chatterjee: “I think the film industry is not so colour biased. Such colour biases exist more in the advertising industry. Our society at large still suffers from these prejudices. Artistes and art need to speak up against societal prejudice. I’ve never endorsed fairness creams. I’ve never allowed anyone to make me look fair on screen.”
Pankaj Tripathi: “Racism is part of the Indian mindset. We can’t escape it. However, the very fact that Nawazuddin’s comment on racism has triggered off a reaction proves that the mindset is changing.”