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Actresses speak on colour discrimination in film industry 

The Tribune , Aug 09, 2019

Challenging the conventional norms of beauty in an industry that has, for years, established those very norms for years is quite a struggle. But for Nandita Das and Suchitra Pillai, two accomplished actors and women, unconventional comes easy. The two actors were speaking at a FICCI FLO’s session themed ‘Perfect As I Am’, a dialogue on breaking beauty stereotypes and being comfortable with oneself.

“The fixed mindset about the parameters on which a woman is judged in our society has to change. I feel that it’s time that people are questioning these parameters in terms of skin colour, stature, physical attributes but it needs to change from within. One has to be confident about self image and acceptance comes easy,” said Suchitra Pillai.

Nandita, who is known for her breakout roles in films like Fire, Earth, Bawandar and for directing Manto, too, mentioned that a lot of pressure is put on women in terms of physical beauty. “I feel that fairness syndrome is deep rooted in the socio-cultural system of our country where only fair is deemed beautiful. When I was starting in the film industry, I was told that I would only be offered ‘suitable’ role due to my dark skin. I couldn’t understand it initially, but the challenge was real and sometimes it becomes difficult to not get affected by it all.”

The session had noted television journalist Barkha Dutt as a moderator. Suchitra, who is best known for her roles in film like Dil Chahta Hai, Page 3 and Fashion, said that her initial stint in modeling too had her facing this discrimination over skin colour. “I remember in one of my earliest shoot as a model, I was shooting along with actor Raveena Tandon and Queenie Singh, who were fair complexioned. I was pancaked with layers of make up just to make me look a shade lighter. That’s what’s wrong with the industry for so long. But things are changing now.”