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Why Bollywood’s ‘colour-coding’ formula is not only offensive but ridiculous

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In Bollywood, our filmmakers follow a certain formula when it comes to depicting the class divide between the rich and the poor. So the formula is not any rocket science, but simply a prejudiced conception that the rich should always be the “After” version of a model in a fairness cream TVC, whereas the poor should always be the “Before” version. It’s as simple as that.

So if you are a filmmaker and want to show your lead as a chap belonging to a humble background, then all you have to do is, A) Cast a fair and handsome actor and B) Slap them with tons of tanning lotion and you are good to go.

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Now, this “brilliant” colour-coding formula is not only racist but ridiculous. Our woke filmmakers and actors have time and again shown how conscious they are of the evolving times. Some of them have openly come out in support of boycotting skin lightening and bleaching cream ads but what is the use of it when you just can’t walk the talk?

We recently saw the trailer of Hrithik Roshan‘s upcoming film ‘Super 30‘. While the film’s concept and storyline are brilliant, I bet there is not a single person who didn’t have any problem with the actor’s fake Bihari accent and excessive tanning. Hrithik’s complexion is so darkened, it appears as if he is not playing a teacher, but a mine worker. And I am not even exaggerating.

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You can check out the trailer of ‘Super 30’ and decide for yourself:

Even the real Anand Kumar (on whose life this film is based) is way more handsome than this on-screen portrayal of him by Roshan. So the question arises, what is the need of all this tanning? And sadly, it is not even done convincingly. Every time Hrithik appears on the screen, I get this innate urge to splash water on his face and get rid of that fake tan.

Do our filmmakers think that as the character comes from an unprivileged background, he doesn’t have the right to look decent? I mean what are our filmmakers even thinking by resorting to such ridiculous means?

And mind you, ‘Super 30’ is not the only film which can be accused of racism. In the recent past, we have seen films like ‘Gully Boy’, ‘Pataakha’, ‘Udta Punjab’ and ‘Beyond The Clouds’ using the same tanning technique in order to bring “authenticity” to their characters.

Gully Boy-Udta Punjab-Beyond the clouds
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In Vishal Bhardwaj’s ‘Pataakha‘, we have two beautiful ladies Sanya Malhotra and Radhika Madan playing the lead roles. Now, the film is really commendable and there is no doubt about it but then again, we see the fair complexioned leads sporting a darker complexion on screen. Do people living in small towns or rural area look like they have just stepped out of a coal mine? Don’t we have beautiful and light skinned girls residing in villages? Of course, we do right? Then what is the need of this colour-coding?

 

Pataakha
Image Source - YouTube

Are we not giving out the wrong message by using this formula? If originality is the reason why our filmmakers are resorting to such means, then can’t they simply cast an actor who actually suits that role? Is that too much to ask for? If you are telling a story of a 70-year-old, then instead of casting a 30-year-old, why not cast a veteran actor for that role?

Similarly, if your story is about a transgender, then cast one instead of a heterosexual actor. Only when our filmmakers understand this basic rule and start implementing it, will we see a more inclusive work environment in our film industry. Give everyone a fair chance. And if you come up with an excuse that one needs star power to make a film successful, then please let me remind you, star presence will never elevate your film. However, a riveting story and an apt casting definitely will.

Also Read: With ‘Kabir Singh’, is Bollywood going to continue its tryst with toxic masculinity?

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