When a film releases it might be a hit or flop demanding on various factors like the plot, dialogues, scenes, etc. However, the skin colour of the heroine shouldn’t be one of them. Sadly, sometimes the actor’s complexion does determine whether she is cast in a film or not.
Speaking of which, actress Shanthipriya, who made her debut with Akshay Kumar in ‘Saugandh’, spoke about sexism and racism in the film industry. She revealed how her dusky skin tone played a role in deciding her fate in the industry.
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She was quoted saying by Mumbai Mirror,
“Times have changed now but in the ‘90s, when I came to work in Bollywood, my dark colour became my biggest enemy and I have faced a lot of discrimination. My confidence was shattered and I was distracted. After a while, my films flopped, and eventually, my career was over.”
The former actress mentioned how shootings were often stopped to match her skin tone with the other actors. “Today, I am proud of myself but earlier I used to be humiliated in front of the entire crew. I was told that my makeup would not match with the hero and both of us looked different. Then the entire process would be redone. It was very embarrassing.”
“Every day before going to shoot I would get scared as to how people would react to seeing me. There also came a time when I used to spend more time hiding my skin color rather than improvising on the script or other things.”
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Recalling an incident with her co-star Akshay Kumar she said, “My role in the film ‘Ikke Pe Ikka’ was of a modern girl and the script demanded that I had to wear a short dress. I used to wear skin-coloured stockings and once while shooting.
“Akshay joked about my knees looking darker than usual in front of the entire crew. He repeatedly said that there were blood clots in my knees and everyone had a good laugh at my cost.”
Shanthipriya added that she cried as the incident left a deep impression on her mind. She was quoted saying, “Akshay is my good friend and I am not complaining here, but I definitely want to tell you that people have to understand how a joke made about someone’s colour can hurt him/her.”
She was also asked to leave a film starring Ajay Devgn just because the filmmaker didn’t like her skin tone. Further revealing her distress, she said she lost two films because the character demanded a fair heroine. In fact, her sister Bhanupriya also had to quite B-town because of her skin colour. Shanthipriya said she eventually lost hope due to the favouritism in the industry.
It’s 2020 and thankfully things are now changing for the better. Hopefully, B-town will also be more inclusive moving forward. What do you think? Tell us.