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Bhumi Pednekar’s Fake ‘Dusky’ Skin Tone In Bala Once Again Reveals Bollywood’s Hypocrisy

Bollywood's commercial outlook is once more revealed by the fact that a light skinned Bhumi Pednekar with dark makeup is in the upcoming movie Bala, instead of an actually dusky actor more suited to the role.

Bollywood’s commercial outlook is once more revealed by the fact that a light skinned Bhumi Pednekar with dark makeup is in the upcoming movie Bala, instead of an actually dusky actor more suited to the role.

It’s not new for Bollywood to be obsessed with a fair skin tone. Their obsession is so high that they have songs like ‘Gore Gore Galon Pe Kala-Kala Chasma’, ‘Kala Chashma Jachta Gore Mukhde Pe’, ‘Ye Kali-Kali Aankhen Ye Gore-Gore Gaal’ etc that show it up.

Recently, though, things have been changing a little, making us feel a little hopeful that this stereotype was set to rest. Dark-skinned actors like Radhika Apte, Priyanka Chopra, and Rani Mukherjee are gaining the appreciation that they deserve.

But after all, in the end, it’s Bollywood, and it has to maintain its tradition of being a hypocrite right? Check out this trailer of the movie ‘Bala’.

Ayushman Khuranna starrer movie Bala is about a man who suffers from hair loss, who is played by Ayushman, and a dark-skinned girl who gets mocked because of that, and how they deal with it. Completely loaded with a social message.

Now you must be wondering how is this an example showing Bollywood’s hypocrisy?

Well, the answer is that Bhumi Pednekar who is not dark-skinned in real life, has been cast to play the role of the dark-skinned girl. On top of that to make her look dark enough, her face has been painted with brown makeup.

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Twitter Debate

The trailer of the movie was released recently, and with that Bhumi Pednekar also posted on twitter, to introduce her character.

The potrayal of a dark skinned girl by Bhumi who is quite fair wasn’t liked by many of the Twitterati. Journalist Karnika Kohli tweeted –

Other users also shared their opinion

So here a fair-skinned girl plays the role of a dark-skinned girl. To show how dark girls are mocked by the society for their colour. Because obviously, Bollywood has like no talented dark-skinned actors who could fit this role right? (Slow Claps)

Hypocrite much?

Whitewashing is something that has been there since ages in the film and television industry.

Hollywood from time to time has been accused of casting a white actor/ actress to play the role of a character of Asian or Arabic origin. Bollywood has been accused of having older men portray characters far younger than their age (for example Ranbir Kapoor playing a school kid in Jagga Jassos, or Aamir Khan in 3 Idiots).

Recently the trailer of the film ‘Saand Ki Aankh’ has also raised a controversy. The movie casts younger actors in their 30s to portray the role of older women in their 60s.

The colourism hypocrisy of Bala has also recently been seen in Hrithik’s characters in the movies Super 30 and Mohenjo Daro, where he was made to wear a brown skin ‘to suit the character’. It was also seen in Udta Punjab where the lighter skinned Alia Bhatt had cast to play the role of a girl who is a darker skin labourer.

The problem of representation and inclusion

The thing to note here is that the problem is not just with hypocrisy. The problem is with a complete disregard of representation and inclusion.

Prosthetics and makeup have been used on actors to make them fit into roles that deal with a social problem, rather than actually casting actors that fit the bill better.

I mean how hard can it be to find a good dark-skinned actor to portray the role that Bhumi is playing?

Fun fact: there are some talented actors which dark skinned like Radhika Apte, Konkona Sen Sharma, Tanishtha Chatterjee etc in the industry.

While on the topic, how hard can it be to cast a transgender, lesbian or gay person in a movie who can better represent the problems that they face? How hard can it be to be inclusive like this, than making other actors fit the roles just because they are famous enough?

A bigger problem than just films

We need to understand that the problem is not just with Bollywood. It’s with the entire society that considers being dark, plus-sized, or having any ‘imperfection’ makes a woman less beautiful. Hence it forces women to go through so much to look ‘beautiful enough’ in the eyes of the society, which is wrong!

It’s high time that Bollywood understands that by just making movies about unspoken social issues doesn’t make it less hypocritical.

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About the Author

Nishtha Pandey

I read, I write, I dream and search for the silver lining in my life. Being a student of mass communication with literature and political science I love writing about things that bother me. Follow read more...

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