Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Not "fair" enough...

A scene from the movie Sivaji. The hero is trying to woo the heroine and is trying to gain access into her house. Her neighbour comes to the hero with his daughters. The hero sees these two seemingly dark girls and vanishes from the spot. The theater erupts to applaud the so called comedy in the scene. I was dumbstruck for a second. The whole scene was shown in bad light. I had no words to describe my disappointment on the way the scene was filmed.

Amidst pranks in schools and colleges, the dark character has to give in time and again to the endless stream of jokes played on him by the jumbo boys. He is made to look like a morally starved creature devoid of everything in life. The incessant chatter would end up hounding the hapless guy and he would have no choice but to stare silently at the comments made on his physical traits. This doesn't happen in the American or European countries, but in our very own land, and within our very own community. I have always wondered how anybody can make fun of the other depending on the physical characteristics of the individual. This is one of the things I have carefully avoided. It is not uncommon to hear comments like He is dark (there are worse adjectives!! I am underplaying it here) and other notorious statements that can leave you totally disgusted. It happens in a community gathering, college meet up and in fact, even in a fresher's party.

What about the advertisements. Name Fair & Lovely, Lakme or any of those dozen products that advertise in the media. A typical sequence would be a girl going for an interview. She is rejected because of her dark complexion. She comes back home disappointed. She applies one of these ultra skin whitening products, and lo and behold, in a matter of days, she is transformed into the shiniest creature on earth. She walks into the interview room with a new found confidence (why the hell I don't understand!!), and even before she utters a word, she is granted the job. She is happy, her parents are happy and we, as audience have to look for every possible hair to tear it in fury. How in the world did the fair complexion turn her confident, I just can't fathom. Replace the sequence with the girl looking for a groom or studying for the exam or applying for an air hostess job, the end result would depend on that gleaming paste.

I would love to ban these advertisements and ask the so called creative thinkers to come up with a better concept. But then, reel life follows what happens in real life and we are left with no choice but to put up with these nonsensical characters, again in reel as well as real life. In plain words, ultimately nobody has any respect for a person who tries to bring down another based on his physical features, even if he does not really mean it. But then, if he really does not mean it, why in the world bring this up. Don't ask me for the answers!!!

At the end of the movie, I went home reflecting on this scene that had created an impact in me. It lingered on for a long time, and not just me, even my friend who could not understand any bit of Tamil, was sighing at the idiosynchracy of the scene. But, finally, the movie makers know the pulse of the audience. The audience loved it, loved the so called comedy and all that matters for the producers is the fact that the movie is raking in the moolah. What a sad plight!


  1. G'day Praveen,

    Fair and Lovely! I remember the ads for that product, when I lived in India.

    Is it still going strong?



  2. You bet David :-)
    Ours is a society that cannot change quickly :-)

  3. Hmmm very true. I also think on similar lines. Haven't seen Shiva but are you sure it was only b'coz of their dark colour or they were shown as dumbs also ? in which case I think it is ok.

    Well, abroad I can't say they tolerate always (thr are other types of racial issues) but yes it is very common to see marriages between a dark & a white.

    Like castes, I would like to call it an issue of racism. What do you say?

    Heyy, Thanks for blogrolling me, I am honoured.

  4. Hi Cuckoo,

    Nope, not because they are dumb :-) It is more of an open society in other countries, though it depends on what you want to define "open" as. It is a relative term.

    Yeah, casteism and racism are two different issues plaguing the society. It is a kind of hindrance to the society and even we have succumbed to these issues :-(

    No problem about the blogrolling. Nice way to keep a tab on blogs which I would like to visit often :-)

  5. Praveen I just want to remind you that one of the greatest struggles in the human history has happened in the Americas and that was because people were treated based on colour. And also the Europeans are very famous for calling us Brownies and the Africans blackies..... So don't ever hail the Americans and Europeans as angelic souls!


  6. Venkatesh: Exactly, what right do we have to call our western bros as racists, tell me? Are we all noble souls here? When it is happening within our very own society, why rake up the issue of racism in the west? Let us clean up our house first before pointing to others!!!!

  7. I am not calling them racist neither am setting out to prove that we are better than what they are..I just want you to or for that matter anyone to refrain from hailing them as angels when they are not. Thats all my point was

  8. Venkatesh: That sentence was meant to be, "It is not about American or European countries, but it happens in our very house". It has no overtones of hailing the western countries as angelic. Anyways, it was not my point to praise one country vs the other. The whole point was to raise the "fairness" issue and I felt it was wrong!!!!

  9. The actress wanted a fair guy , her personal choice , so rajini gets a makeup (worth millions i guess from some specialist in america).these are the things rajini's movies are famous for.Wen he does come out as fair guy, the audience goes nuts.
    maybe you are making more than there is to it ??

  10. Anonymous: You have got me wrong here!!! I said about the two girls shown in the movie!!!!

  11. @praveen ,

    Sorry for that i did get it wrong.I was reading lotsa shivaji blogs and posted in the wrong one.But dont u think this happens more in southern movies than in northern movies.The complex for the fairer skin goes a long some way back esp in teh southern indian culture.Its pitiful that people can enjoy these in the name of comedy.

  12. Anonymous: Yeah, it is the general attitude that's got to change. The problem is these things are not even shown in the subtle way, and the explicit way of film making leaves a bad taste.