Challenging cinema’s colourism

The entertainment world is more and more answerable now that the ‘woke’ movement is evolving.

Still, some film industries remain resistant to change.

Most notorious of this lot is the south Indian cinema, which likes to cast fair-skinned actors exclusively.

It feels particularly incongruent when the people of this region are primarily known for their dark skin.

What makes this worse is when the songs have colourist lyrics to match, promoting light skin with catchy tunes.

Descriptions of ‘milky skin’ or ‘face like the moon’ do women no favours.

Nandita Das, in her campaign “India’s Got Colour”, addressed the opportunities denied to dark-skinned people in the country and urged the industry to practise inclusivity.

Campaigns like this teach us that the conversation around colourism needs to happen—no more tip-toeing around the issue.

Instead, let’s call out this fetishist and outdated mindset of sexualising skin tone and specific features of women’s bodies.

In time, it will set us all on the road to redefining beauty.