Bhumi Pednekar Defends Her Casting For Bala By Saying She Also Did Dum Laga Ke Haisha. But You Can Change Weight, Not Colour!
Anyone who is close to me and knows me a tad bit, knows that I am usually the kind who is very touchy about certain topics in life. Complexion and the stereotypes built around it, for one. And no, this has less to do with my own complexion which is a lovely shade of brown, darker than the gori chitti girls, and more to do with how people still look at it with such pity – and offer to fix my colour for me. But that’s the thing, for the most part, the fairness and whitening creams peddled to us, are gimmicks. Colour has nothing to do with anything except, maybe your genes. So you could slather on that cream that promises to change your life, but mostly it won’t
And we used to believe these companies. When they sold us the dream of a better life if you were fair, we bought it. Except now we no better and we know that no amount of whitening to going to make me good enough for that job or promotion.
However, this seems to be a concept lost on Bhumi Pednekar, who recently portrayed the character of a dusky brown girl in the film Bala. While she may have been earnest in her acting, she is facing flak for being overly darkened and she is coming out to defend it by saying how as part of being an actor, donning a role of a dusky girl felt right.
Also Read : Bhumi Pednekar Says Her Role In Bala Is A Service To Society. We Think Her Other Roles Were, This One Is Not!
Now, on any other day, we’d jump right on board with the kind of statements that Bhumi has made, especially since part of them do make sense. Like when she talks about the societal complex and said, “Everybody has some complex that has been given by people. Bala is not a story about a bald guy or a balding guy. This is a story about anybody who has any kind of complex. You are told you are fat, you are thin, you are tall, you are short, you are too heavy, you have no hair, you are light, you are dark, and you are never perfect. The idea is to celebrate your imperfections. When we are born, there is no discrimination. It is what society does to us, and that is exactly what we are trying to break through from this film.”
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Except, dealing with a complex is easier if you know your options, even while accepting yourself and all that. Bhumi Pednekar, who looked like she had a massive and long-lasting run in with a bronzer in Bala went on to justify her casting in the film by saying, “If a filmmaker has taken me, it is because I add some value to the film. I am a half decent actor. I do bring in a lot to a movie. It can’t be a person’s physical appearance that an actor is cast in a film. There is a lot more that an actor brings in a movie. We need to look at the whole creative process more holistically as opposed to that only a lean can play a lean’s part or only an obese can play obese. Then what will we actors do? I will be sitting at home.” And as much as she tries to reason, it certainly isn’t working for us. For starters, while there isn’t much you can do about complexion, for the most part, you can do something about your weight.
Hear us out here. I could gain or lose a few pounds, and somewhere be at least close to the physicality of thecharacter I am to pick as an actor because that is still something we could experience, just like Bhumi or Aamir Khan did for their earlier movies. But complexion is a whole different ball game. More so because, there are only a handful of actresses in the industry that are dusky and rather than casting from among them, we see unnatural-looking effort being made to darken white skinned actor to fit into the role. And this wouldn’t be the first time either. Be it turning Hrithik Roshan three tones darker for Super 30 or Alia Bhatt the same for Udta Punjab, we don’t remember the last time the casting was as inclusive as the filmmaker’s idea behind making the movie is.
Bhumi went on to say, “If I see my career graph in the last one year, I started shooting last September with Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare. The film has got so much international appreciation. It will be in India early next year. I am playing a 20-year-old girl over there, to playing a 70- year-old woman in Saand Ki Aankh. This year, I have done five to six strong characters. It says a lot about how times are changing. If I look at my colleagues, be it Alia (Bhatt), or be it Taapsee (Pannu), I think we all are doing films that are really empowering to my gender. We are doing films where women are celebrated. Not just this year but right from the start of my career, I have only been part of movies where the girl has lot to do. It is not a common thing but the change is happening slowly.” Yes, we agree with this bit.
See, the only problem we have with the Bollywood industry here is that they yet again have gotten the concept of it all mixed up. When we talk about promoting inclusivity and breaking down ridiculous beauty standards, it doesn’t just mean making a movie out of the issue. It means making a movie that ‘rightly’ highlights the deeper and more problematic aspect behind it, and the last way to do it is by casting a fair girl to play the role of a dusky woman and asking people to be okay about it.
No, we are not okay. And being fat or skinny means you can perhaps transform yourself. Your colour, on the other hand, you simply cannot. And let’s not forget that.