ALL’S NOT FAIR IN THE FILM INDUSTRY
Industry insiders react to Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s tweet in which he calls out Bollywood’s obsession with fair-skinned actors
Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui may have established himself as one of the finest actors in Bollywood, but his recent tweet hints at the industry’s never-ending obsession with fair skin and good looks. In his tweet, Nawaz wrote, “Thank U 4 making me realise dat I cannot b paired along wid d fair & handsome bcz I m dark & not good looking, but I never focus on that (sic).” Nawaz was reacting to a comment by the casting director of his upcoming film, Sanjay Chouhan.
In an interview, Chouhan said, “…Keeping Nawaz in mind, all other characters were taken on board. We can’t cast fair and handsome people with Nawaz. It would look so weird...” The Twitterati came out in support of the actor. While one user, @aaliaaaliya wrote, “You are one of the finest actors around. Looks has nothing to do with acting skills... you are An actor! a performer of a different league.”, another user @ SaifManager replied, “Dnt worry nawaz bhai, ajay devgan ne Aishwarya rai ke sath kaam kiya hai, aap to fir bhi usse handsome ho..” In fact, his industry colleagues, filmmakers Hansal Mehta, Ritesh Batra and actor Tannishtha Chatterjee, also tweeted voicing their support for him.
Reacting to it, Mehta says, “I think people should stop doing such things to bring actors like Nawaz’s calibre down. They should be nurtured rather than mocked. I personally feel that Nawaz is quite a gorgeous man and I am going to tell him that.”
Filmmaker Shyam Benegal feels that such kind of discrimination, racism and stereotypes have been there for the past 100 years. “I found it ridiculous and broke the trend by casting Smita (Patil). I was told how I could cast a dark little girl as the heroine of my film. I think it’s part of the Indian psyche, which is hard to change,” he adds.
Actor Tannishtha Chatterjee, who worked with Nawazuddin in Lion (2016) voiced a similar opinion: “When I walked out of the TV show (Comedy Nights Bachao for being roasted on her skin colour), many said why I couldn’t take jokes on me, without understanding that I was simply trying to highlight a deep-rooted problem.”
Meanwhile, Nawaz who was in Delhi on Tuesday to promote his upcoming film, reiterated his stand on the skin-colour debate and told HT City, “A lot of people in this industry are racist. Because of this, I have been rejected a lot of times.” In an earlier interview the actor had told us, “Looks still seems to be the deciding factor. Recently, one of my directors approached a famous heroine, she rejected the offer hinting at how we don’t match lookwise and added ‘he is a good actor though...’”
I walked out of Comedy Nights Bachao only to highlight this deep-rooted (skin colour) problem TANNISHTHA CHATTERJEE, ACTOR