Bollywood actor Bipasha Basu, who was often described as ‘dusky beauty’ of the industry, has shared her childhood memories and how she always wondered why the adjective ‘dusky’ has been associated with her ever since her first public appearance as a model at the age of 16. Hindustan Unilever announced on Thursday that it will drop the word “fair” from its Fair & Lovely range of products in order to make its portfolio ‘more inclusive’.
Sharing a screenshot of a news item about famous fairness cream brand dropping the word “fair” from its product, Bipasha wrote, “From the time I was growing up I heard this always,”Bonnie is darker than Soni.She is little dusky na?“Even though my mother is a dusky beauty and I look a lot like her.I never knew why that would be a discussion by distant relatives when I was a kid. Soon at 15/ 16 I started modelling and then I won the supermodel contest … all newspapers read … dusky girl from Kolkata is the winner.I wondered again why Dusky is my first adjective ??? “
“Then I went to New York and Paris to work as a model and I realised my skin colour was exotic there and I got more work and attention because of it. Another discovery of mine:) Once I came back into India and film offers started… and finally I did my first film and from an absolute Ajnabee to Hindi film industry …I suddenly was accepted and loved. But the adjective stayed which I started liking and loving by then.DUSKY girl wows the audiences in her debut film,” she added.
She also wrote how sexy was associated with her for the colour of her skin. “In most of my articles for all the work I did,my duskiness seemed to be the main discussion.. it attributed to my sex appeal apparently.And sexy in Bollywood started getting accepted widely.I never really understood this… To me sexy is the personality not just the colour of your skin…why my skin colour only sets me apart from the conventional actresses at that time.But that’s the way it was.I didn’t really see much of difference but I guess people did.There was a strong mindset of Beauty and how an actress should look and behave.I was DIFFERENT as it was pointed out. Didn’t really stop me from being and doing all that I loved.”
“Well you see I was confident and proud of who I was from childhood.My skin colour didn’t define me … even though I love it and wouldn’t want it to be any different ever. Many skin care endorsements with loads of money was offered to me in the last 18 years ( some were very tempting)… but I stuck to my principle always. All this needs to stop. This wrong dream that we are selling … that only fair is lovely and beautiful when the majority of the country is brown skinned. It’s a deep rooted stigma. It’s a mammoth step from the brand… and other brands should follow in the same footsteps soon,” she signed off.
Bipasha’s post got much love from industry friends as well as fans. It received more than 40 thousand likes in three hours. Sophie Choudhury, and dropped heart emojis on the post. Sussanne Khan’s siister Farah Ali Khan wrote, “Well said love @bipashabasu.” Neelam Kothari also commented, “A lot more people need to follow this trend.”
Actor Nandita Das had also responded to the news and said in an interview, “In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of social wrongs have found a surprisingly sympathetic audience. The announcement today by Hindustan Unilever that they will remove the words ‘fairness’, ‘whitening and ‘lightening’ from their line of products, is something I don’t think anyone saw coming. Even though it is more symbolic (after all they have not discontinued the product, just changed the messaging), it is still a big step forward. Many brands spend hundreds of crores of rupees to spread the absurd message of fair being lovely in a largely dark country. So, when a market leader steps in, at the very least, it will certainly lead to an even wider debate.”
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