Soumya Tandon: In auditions abroad for projects, I was told that ‘Indian girls should not be impartial’ and TV was rejected –
Following the announcement of their decision by the two multinationals to drop the use of terms such as निष्पक्षfair ‘and ening whitening’ from their beauty products, the debate around discrimination based on color has been revived again. Actor Soumya Tandon is happy over the verdict.
“You can call someone fair or not fair, that’s fine. People calling me ‘fair’ are not abusive, nor do I apologize about it. I just want to say that every color is beautiful. But unfortunately, in our society, conditioning is such that they associate the word ‘beloved’ with impartiality. That means, they only feel girls who are fair, cute, which is not the right perception.
Although she welcomes the decision, she also points out that discrimination is not limited to skin tone other than just being fair. Tandon told us his personal experience of facing prejudice due to his fair complexion.
“I got out of a lot of work because they said ‘she’s very fair’, because they think an Indian girl is not that, she should be ‘brown’. A lot of auditions that I give abroad, they say Is that ‘oh you are fair, Indian girls are not like that’. I said, “It’s very conservative. The outside world considers the Indian girl brown. No wonder, 99 percent of Indian-origin actors are depicted as brown while working as Indians abroad. They accept any other color.” I will not. I am dismissed as saying, ‘You are not brown, so you will not be treated as an Indian.’
Tandon further says that she will tell the casting directors that there are people from all the complexes in her country. In fact, she recently had an international film, which she lost. She tells us another girl, who was not fair, got her instead.
“Photographers take dark models because somehow they feel they are more exotic, or they are going to be better for advertising a saree or Indian jewelery, they want that, Indian-ness”, which is brown in their head Ho. It is not fair for girls like us. What is their right to say about the girls of Kashmir, Punjab, don’t you call them Indians? “She asks the orthodox question.
Her comedy show Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hai, Tandon is often called ‘Gori Mem’ (fair lady). Does he also feel that at some point, he is being classified by color? She says it’s not.
“I don’t find it as an abuse, unless they’re saying we’re going to like you because you’re white. It’s going too far. If someone is tall, we won’t call them tall ? I am the chief blonde, the white one will speak, there is no abuse. This is how God made me again, unless you are saying ‘You are fair, therefore you are the best’. That is wrong. A lot of others. Comedy shows make fun of people who are dark or fair. In fact it is also fine, as long as they are not doing it in bad taste, “says Tandon.
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