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Saumya Tandon Reveals How She’s Lost Auditions Abroad Because She Wasn’t As Brown As Indians Are ‘Supposed’ To Be. Oh, Come On

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We love using the phrase ‘unity in diversity’ to define our country. It’s a matter of pride. But this is also the country where money, colour, birth, all of it plays a role in the way you are treated. India isn’t just a land of varied ethnicities but also various prejudices. No matter you’re born a man or a woman, rich or poor, fair or dusky, Hindu or Muslim, the society will find enough reasons to inject you with insecurities and pick at them every chance they get. And let’s admit, some of these stereotypes make for great jokes. But then that’s what they are, stereotypes. And they are rarely descriptive of representative of an entire culture or ethnicity. For example. many people may believe that we in India are all snake charmers and mahouts and you know how wrong they would be, but only because we can’t find snakes now.

As weird as it may sound, we live in a vain and superficial world where people could care less about human sentiment and more about the optics. Especially the movie industry, which in a way to depict a particular character, storyline or plot, has always ended up furthering stereotypes, including the ones about associating people of a certain country with a certain skin colour.

We say this after the TV actress Saumya Tandon has revealed how being fair hasn’t fared well for her in auditions abroad, all because Indian women are “supposed” to be dark and dusky. She shared how, “I lost out on a lot of work because they said ‘she is too fair’, because they perceive an Indian girl to not be that, she should be ‘brown’. A lot of auditions I give abroad, they say ‘oh you are fair, Indian girls are not supposed to be that’. I said it’s so stereotypical. The world outside perceives the Indian girl to be brown. No wonder why, 99 percent of actors of Indian origin, working abroad as Indians, are shown to be brown. They will not accept any other colour. I have been rejected being told ‘you are not brown, so you will not be cast as an Indian.”

Also Read : Fair And Lovely Is All Set To Get Rebranded To Make It More Inclusive. But It’s Made Money Off People’s Insecurities For Years. This Isn’t Enough

From first dark skinned people being cast away due to the unrealistic beauty standards set by the industry and the society, to now fair skinned Indian people shunned for not being brown enough, it is disheartening to see that an entire country can be dismissed for having too much variation in colour and not enough to lump us under one category.

Tandon further went on to question this bias and said, “Photographers take dark models because somehow they feel they are more exotic, or they are going to be better for a saree or Indian jewellery ad, they want that ‘Indian-ness’, which in their head is brown. It is not fair for girls like us. What about girls from Kashmir, Punjab, they are fair, don’t you call them Indian?.” And to think of the irony where for decades beauty companies have been promoting the notion of being ‘fair and lovely’, while the west still sees Indians as brown.

When asked if she feels being called fair is an abuse, she replied, “I don’t find it as an abuse, as long as they are not saying we will prefer you because you are gori. It’s taking it too far. If anyone is tall, we will call them tall na? Main gori hoon, gori bolenge, gaali nahi hai. This is how God made me.  Again, as long as you are not saying ‘you are fair, so you are the best’. That is wrong. A lot of other comedy shows make fun of people who are dark or fair. Actually that is also fine, as long as they are not doing it in bad taste.”

Guess this would be a good time to finally settle all the prejudice people have against any skin colour, and realise that no country, race or ethnicity should be reduced to just that. There are people of all complexions out there, and they don’t have to be a certain shade to justify where they come from. Period

Also Read : After Fair And Lovely, L’Oreal Will Remove Words Like ‘White’ And ‘Fair’ From Its Products. We Need To Do More As A Society

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