“Even considering that dark skin is a joke comes from that very deep prejudice.”

Features Television Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - 13:01

“Parched” actor Tannishtha Chatterjee has hit out at the television show “Comedy Nights Bachao Taaza” for its unending obsession with her skin colour.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Tannishtha calls out the show for resorting to “racist content” and passing it off as humour, also highlighting that “jokes” about skin colour are not just racist, but also casteist in India. 

Tannishtha writes in her post that she had gone on the show to promote the film “Parched”, and had been told in advance that the show would follow the pattern of a “roast”. Based on her perception of roasts on American shows like “Saturday Night Live”, Tannishtha had looked forward to getting roasted on the show.

“And then this show began… And to my utmost horror, I soon realised that the only quality they found worth roasting about in me was my skin tone,” writes Tannishtha. “It began with ‘aap ko jamun bahut pasand hoga zaroor… kitna jamun khaya aapne bachpan se?’ And went on in that direction,” she writes.

The actor, known for her performances in “Brick Lane”, “Shadows of time”, “Unindian”, “Island City”, and “Angry Indian Goddesses” walked out of the show  when she couldn’t stand the content any longer.

In her post, she says that she couldn’t believe that a nationally televised comedy show in 2016 could subject her to, “such regressive (I can’t call it humor), and blatantly racist content.”

She adds that the makers of the show failed to understand why she was objecting to the jokes when she had been told that it was a roast, and that some of her friends also told her not to take the jokes seriously.

“Except there is nothing funny about this. Precisely because, in a country where we still sell ‘Fair n Lovely/Handsome’ and show adverts where people don’t get jobs because of their complexion, where every matrimonial advert demands a fair bride or groom and the color bias is so strong, in a society which has a deep-seated problem with dark skin, which also has deep roots in our caste system, in a country where dark skin is marginalized, making fun of it is not roast.”

Pointing out that she is not taking offense at a personal level, but rather at a social level, the actor adds, “Even considering that dark skin is a joke comes from that very deep prejudice.”

Describing an earlier incident in which a man indirectly asked her why her skin tone was dark despite having two Brahmin parents, the actor says that although we may not admit it, we associate fair skin with upper castes and dark skin with lower castes. “This is so deep rooted and linked to our perceptions of caste, class and skin tone,” she writes.

Read Tannishtha’s full Facebook post here:


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