Saturday, April 04, 2015

Have "white" skin, will travel ... to the land of "brown" people :(

Take a look at this image:

Unless you are from India, or are into all things Bollywood, you would not know this is an Indian actor, right?  I didn't know.  I had no clue.  I stopped following the Indian movie scene even before I left India ;)  Well, ok, not really. the Indian movies that I liked usually didn't make it big.  (Like this one, or this other one, which are some of my all-time favorites.)  With most of the rest, it was the songs that I cared about.

Back to that young woman striking a pose.  Turns out that she is not from India.  But, yes, she is an actor there.  Her name is Amy Jackson.
Amy is Caucasian, but her long dark hair has allowed her to pass for a local
So, where is Jackson from?  From Liverpool. As in the UK. Yes, that Liverpool.
She had already been crowned Teen Miss World at the age of 16 - but playing Indian characters in Indian films, requiring her to speak Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, is still not what this all-English beauty queen expected to happen next.
The opportunity arose when director AL Vijay saw her photo and asked Jackson to play an English governor's daughter in his Tamil film Madrasapattinam, set against the backdrop of Indian independence in 1947.
She came to play the role of an Englishman's daughter.  And then ...
Diving head first into Indian life, Amy has moved to Mumbai, the home of Bollywood.
The Indian industry is split along regional and linguistic lines. As well as making her Bollywood debut, Jackson has also made or is making pictures in Kollywood (Tamil language, based in Chennai in the south-east) and Tollywood (Telugu language, based in the central city of Hyderabad).
So, does it mean that Jackson plays an Englishwoman character in every movie?  Not so.  For instance:
Thaandavam, a Tamil action film in which she plays an Indian woman living in London, comes out in India on Friday and she is currently filming lead roles in two more movies.
You think this would have ever worked out if Jackson were a Teen Miss World of dark-skinned African heritage?

India is one crazy place where the "fair skin" mania seems to gain more and more momentum with every passing day.

And then there are other reasons as well; like this:
While nationalist parties are outraged over white actresses and junior artists being cast in films over local ones, Jag Mundra (who incidentally made the critically acclaimed Provoked! Yikes!) was quoted saying, “The  reason producers pick white girls is because a lot of them have better figures and are willing to expose them...If you need a bikini shot, not many Indian girls are willing to turn up in a string bikini. But most white girls will not have an issue with that. Titillation has been an important part of Bollywood."
Re-read that.

"Oh well" is all I can say anymore about the old country.  Because, "disgusting" would be offensive to the people there.  Oops, I wrote "disgusting." Twice. ;)


Ramesh said...

Oh, very interesting that something about Bollywood caught your eye. You are improving day by day, my friend :):):)

This isn't by any means unique to India. Whites are "preferred" over blacks and browns everywhere in the world. Including in your country. So what's new ?

Sriram Khé said...

There are two major differences between the whites over others, between the US and India.

1. "If you need a bikini shot, not many Indian girls are willing to turn up in a string bikini. But most white girls will not have an issue with that" is unique to the Indian (Bollywood) cinema. It is all the more bizarre that there would be such a gross differentiation of whites and browns.

2. The whites v. black/brown issue in the US is about the power and privilege issues, and not about a simplistic and gross definition of "white" is more beautiful. The struggle is about the equality of people.

Most read this past month