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FAIR & LOVELY IS OUT, YOUR SKIN IS IN: HOW TO STOP COLOURISM

Noor Anand Chawla

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The killing of George Floyd in the United States has led to major protests across the world. Hitherto marginalised communities are calling for the end of systemic racism that has infiltrated every industry and individual around the world. At first glance, Indians may not seem personally affected by these racial protests, however, colourism is embedded deep within our society as well.

“Colourism” is defined as “prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group”. Discrimination on the basis of colour is inherently wired in Indians. It is now finally time for a change. With powerful corporate giants like Hindustan Unilever Ltd changing their branding from “Fair & Lovely” to the more inclusive “Glow & Lovely”, things are on the right track. If you would also like to change your thinking and approach towards this situation, here are some simple things to do:

  • STOP WORRYING ABOUT THE TAN

 Change must begin from within. Stop being the only person covered from head-to-toe on the beach, in order to avoid the darkening of your skin colour. Use sun-block to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, but appreciate the Vitamin D and healthy bronze-coloured glow that accompanies being outdoors in the sun.

  • NEVER COMPLIMENT KIDS ON SKIN FAIRNESS

There are numerous well-meaning grandparents, aunts and uncles that believe having a fair baby is an accomplishment, and enjoy harping on the fact. However, this practice is harmful as it instils a sense of superiority in these babies from a young age, who then go on to discriminate or hold sway over other people who don’t have the same colour of skin. For that matter, you must stop complimenting people on their light-skin in general — it is not a meritorious achievement!

  • BOYCOTT SONGS THAT ENCOURAGE RACISM

Numerous Indian folk songs and traditional folklore are centred around fair-skinned protagonists. This has encouraged inherent colourism in the songs and stories of Bollywood and other mainstream media as well. It becomes a vicious cycle that keeps reinforcing an idealised standard of beauty, which everyone then aspires to achieve. This practice must end for the collective progress of our society.

  • DON’T USE PRODUCTS THAT MAKE SKIN ‘LIGHTER’

The first step has already been taken with the change of name of most skin-lightening products, but rebranding does not change the nature and intended target audience of these products. Every citizen of our country should be comfortable in their own skin. The only way to achieve that is to boycott these products completely.

  • ACCEPT THAT BEAUTY COMES IN ALL COLOURS

Ultimately, each of the steps outlined above will only work to get rid of colourism, if there is a sea-change in the mindset of every person. The supposedly accepted standards of beauty are thrust upon us through advertisements, magazines, TV shows and cinema. The fact that these standards frequently change show that beauty is indeed timeless, only trends change. Back in the 1990s, the global beauty standard called for pale and stick-thin models. Now, with the Kardashian clan gaining immense popularity, the standards have changed to a darker and more voluptuous kind. This only shows that beauty and attraction can never be defined by one single standard. Once we collectively change our thinking to accept and appreciate every colour, shape and size, we will truly allow ourselves to move ahead as a society.

Next time, think twice before you worry about your own skin colour or that of your children. The world can only change when you change yourself first.

 The writer is a lawyer who pens lifestyle articles on her successful blog www. nooranandchawla.com. She can be found on Instagram @nooranandchawla.

Lifestyle & Entertainment

Bell Bottom: Akshay Kumar, Vaani Kapoor say hello to London

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Akshay Kumar and Vaani Kapoor have finished their Glasgow schedule for the upcoming spy-thriller film, ‘Bell Bottom’. They are now set to shoot in London. Akshay posted an Instagram picture featuring his wife Twinkle Khanna and son Aarav, who are currently with him in the UK, along with the cast and crew of the film. “So many happy faces in one frame…that’s the result of a good schedule. Goodbye Glasgow, hello London #BellBottom @_vaanikapoor_ @ranjitmtewari @jackkybhagnani @deepshikhadeshmukh @pooja_ent @emmayentertainment @onlyemmay@madhubhojwani @nikkhiladvani@ aseemarora,” he wrote in the caption. The film also stars Lara Dutta and Huma Qureshi and is slated for an April 2021 release. 

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Varun Sharma feels happy on being called ‘Choocha’ or ‘Sexa’

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 Actor-comedian Varun Sharma says when fans call him by the names of his popular on-screen characters, it is the biggest compliment he can get. “It makes me really happy when people refer to me as Choocha or Sexa (his characters in ‘Fukrey’ and ‘Chhichhore’ respectively) instead of my name. It’s a blessing for any actor to be recognised by the names of the characters they portray,” said the actor. 

 Varun, who has made his mark as one of the funniest talents in Bollywood lately, has now bagged an interactive stand-up comedy show as a host. Titled ‘Sabse Funny Kaun?’, the new show has 10-minute episodes and features 10 comedians. “I am truly thankful to the audience for showering so much love, and I’m happy to be back to entertain them. As an actor whose forte is comedy, people are always looking for you to crack them up and I am eager to give people that opportunity as the host of ‘Sabse Funny Kaun?’,” said Varun. Every episode sees two participants dishing out jokes across topical and alternative comedy. The show is live on the Flipkart app. 

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SRK, Vidya and Sushant inspire me: Radhika Madan

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Actress Radhika Madan says she drew inspiration to join films from superstar Shah Rukh Khan. Radhika was a well-known face in the television industry before she won plaudits with her film roles. She was seen in the television show ‘Meri Aashiqui Tum Se Hi’ and also participate din the reality dance contest, ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 8’. In 2018, she made her Bollywood debut with Vishal Bhardwaj’s ‘Pataakha’, and there has been no looking back.

  “I was quite well known in TV, but I had to start from scratch while starting my journey in Bollywood. It was not that I got roles immediately. I had to give several auditions. I had to start from the very beginning. I even heard a lot of negative comments about myself. But those remarks did not stop me from moving ahead. I believed in my dreams,” Radhika told IANS. “I used to say to myself, If Shah Rukh (Khan) sir or Vidya (Balan) ma’m or Sushant (Singh Rajput) could do it, I can too. Their journeys inspired me a lot. They all came from television background. I feel the medium does not matter. What truly matters is hard work,” shared Radhika. 

 She recalled working on her debut film ‘Pataakha’, saying: “It was not a typical Bollywood debut. The film let go off my inhibitions. From getting my hair bleached and teeth stained to gaining 12 kilos, the movie taught me the real meaning of my craft and made me realise how important it is to put the character above yourself. It was a dream debut. Working with Vishal sir was always on my wish list. (I) Couldn’t have asked for more,” added Radhika about her debut film, which also featured Sanya Malhotra and Vijay Raaz.

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Amanda Seyfried blessed with second child

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Actress Amanda Seyfried is the latest celebrity to deliver a child amidst the pandemic. She has given birth to her second child, a baby boy. Seyfried and her husband Thomas Sadoski announced the news through a statement. They also shared the first photo of their son on Instagram. “Since the birth of our daughter 3 years ago our commitment to the innocent children that are so brutally affected by conflict and war has been a driving force in our lives,” said the couple. 

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Arbaaz Khan files defamation case

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 Actor-producer Arbaaz Khan has filed a defamation case against several social media users who alleged his involvement in the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and his manager Disha Salian. Arbaaz filed the case in a civil court in the city, and the court has directed defendants Vibhor Anand and Sakshi Bhandari, and unknown defendants — namely John Doe/Ashok Kumar — to withdraw, recall or take down defamatory content published directly or indirectly by any of them. The defamatory posts stated that the Arbaaz was arrested and taken into unofficial custody by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as part of the investigation. 

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Nambiar’s ‘Taish’ to release as film and web series

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The Bejoy Nambiar-directed multistarrer revenge drama, ‘Taish’, will adopt a unique release strategy. Nambiar will launch his effort in the form of a film as well as a six-episode web series on 29 October. He is not ready to reveal the details of his unusual plan yet, though the lead actor Pulkit Samrat describes the film as a “madness that will grip the audience”. ‘Taish’ also features Kriti Kharbanda, Jim Sarbh, Harshvardhan Rane and Sanjeeda Sheikh.

 “All I can say about ‘Taish’ is the madness that will grip the audience. The characters have lots of passion and that is extremely evident throughout the story. It will take us all on a journey,” said Pulkit. 

 According to Kriti, it’s one of the most passionate projects she has ever worked on. “Millennials will absolutely relate to the story. Everyone has been to a wedding that has its share of drama and madness. Relationships will be tested and trust will be broken,” she pointed out.  

“‘Taish’ is a test of human emotions and our perseverance to fight the odds stacked against us. It is a revenge drama that surrounds two families and an incident that ignites a storm. With love and revenge as motif, the story will take you through an emotional wild ride. This has been a passion project from the word go and I really hope the audience acknowledges our labour of hard work,” said Nambiar of the Zee5 release.

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