Actor Bhumi Pednekar’s dusky appearance in the trailer of the upcoming film Bala has been met with online criticism.
The actor’s complexion has been visibly altered in the trailer, making her a few shades darker than her natural self.
Describing it an example of ‘brownface’, several Twitter users pointed out that if the filmmakers really wanted to discuss cultural obsession with fair skin, they could have cast an actor who is actually dark. Bala addresses male baldness through actor Ayushmann Khurrana’s character, as well as the desire among both men and women to have fair skin.
“One day Bollywood will realise dark skinned people exist and they don’t have to put 2 kilos of dark foundation on a fair skinned actress. One day,” one person wrote on Twitter. “Wish industry had dark-skinned actresses to properly portray the struggle. But it’ll be way too long before that happens. Until then this is what we get. Painted faces,” wrote another. “CAST ACTORS WITH DARK COMPLEXION !! This is why the world asks us why are we racist towards ourselves!!” wrote another person.
Previously, the makers of Hrithik Roshan’s Super 30 were asked the same questions, after the actor was made to appear darker. The famously fair-skinned Hrithik played a Bihar-based mathematician in the film, which did tremendous numbers at the box office. Hrithik’s co-star in the film, Mrunal Thakur, defended the decision, and told Mid-Day, “I think it was required for the character. Whenever I saw Hrithik in his dark complexion, I would end up calling him Anand and not Hrithik.”
Another of Bhumi’s upcoming films has attracted a similar controversy. Saand Ki Aankh has been in the spotlight for casting young actors to portray elderly women. While Bala is out on November 7, Saand Ki Aankh will arrive on October 25.