It was solely in Could this yr that Bollywood had promptly responded to the Black Lives Matter protests within the US following George Floyd’s homicide, graciously extending their assist to the reason for anti-racism. Additional, when Hindustan Unilever determined to drop the phrase “truthful” from its pores and skin lightening cream Truthful and Pretty, some stars counseled it as a optimistic transfer in the direction of ending colourism within the nation. Lower to September 2020. A track was launched yesterday from Ananya Panday and Ishaan Khatter’s upcoming movie Khaali Peeli. At first look, the track’s title – Beyoncé Sharma Jayegi – invitations intrigue. However a number of seconds into the track, you’ll know what an terrible mistake it was to press the play button.
Here’s a part of the lyrics that’s making everybody on social media cringe: Bhadkeeli nakhreeli, chamkeeli lachkeeli, tu jo kamar yeh hilayegi, ho tujhe dekh ke goriya, Beyonce sharma jayegi. The truth that the track, in the identical breath, mentions Beyoncé and goriya (lady with truthful pores and skin) has led to an outrage.
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Social Media Apologises To Beyoncé On Behalf Of Bollywood
No sooner was the track out, Twitterati known as out everybody related to the “merchandise quantity” – the track’s composer duo Vishal-Shekhar, lyricists Kumaar and Raj Shekhar, and the track’s stars Ananya Panday and Ishaan Khatter. It additionally didn’t assist that each these younger actors hail from distinguished movie households, which gave folks campaigning in opposition to nepotism another excuse to hate on the track.
However largely, everybody had, and will have, a problem with the lyrics. Social media customers additionally apologised to American singer-songwriter Beyoncé, hailed as Queen Bey by her followers, round whom the track revolves.
Sharing a clip of the video, a consumer wrote:
beyoncé honey , we’re so sorry 🥴 pic.twitter.com/abS5MShFth
— aakshi (@kiaraastan) September 7, 2020
Predicting the furore that was about to unfold, one other consumer wrote, “Oh no, these lyrics are looaadddedd. Don’t assume they’re prepared for the discourse that is going to kick off.”
In the meantime, followers of the pop singer had an entire different drawback than the track’s colourist undertones. They had been appalled at Bollywood’s audacity to match Queen Bey to Ananya Panday. Expressing this sentiment, a consumer wrote, “What.utter.bullshit. Ananya Pandey, being in comparison with THE Beyonce… the CLOWNERY.”
Memes started taking up fascinating crossovers, probably the most topical being this one which managed to rope in Kokilaben, the star of the second (and rasodas in every single place):
— Punit lakra (@Punitlakra2000) September eight, 2020
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The Tune Isn’t Actually Taking A Dig At Beyoncé, However It’s Nonetheless Problematic
If you first hear the lyrics of Beyoncé Sharma Jayegi, the usage of goriya and Beyoncé in the identical line will appear justifiably fallacious and racist. Particularly as a result of Beyoncé is a black icon and one of many main champions of the Black Lives Matter trigger. However should you’re in a position to courageous the unhealthy music and hearken to the track greater than as soon as, you realise that the lyrics don’t really insinuate that Beyoncé will draw back as a result of Panday is a fair-skinned girl. They imply that Ananya dances and strikes her waist so a lot better than Beyoncé that it’ll deliver Queen Bey embarrassment.
That mentioned, the track continues to be problematic. Due to its use of the only phrase goriya. This phrase connoting a good girl has been explicitly put within the track to explain Panday’s pores and skin, clearly which means it as the very best of compliments. Why, in 2020, and after all of the debates round colourism in India, did Bollywood select to place this phrase within the track? Why is “truthful” nonetheless getting used as a “optimistic” adjective? It’s actually only a bodily characteristic – shouldn’t it’s seen as such?
We’re a rustic that’s obsessive about pores and skin color. That’s the reason when ‘Truthful and Pretty’ modified its title to ‘Glow and Pretty,’ hundreds of individuals had been glad with the change, even because the underlying product’s USP remained the identical – that of pores and skin lightening. Even Shaadi.com claimed to have eliminated their pores and skin tone filter. However has that basically stopped households from in search of truthful brides for his or her sons, or vice versa?
Bollywood And Its Obsession With Truthful Pores and skin
And the way a lot of a task does Bollywood need to play in all this? A lot. This stereotype of truthful pores and skin being seen as a bonus has been most well-liked by the movie trade for many years, the place each actress appears to be like like each different, as a result of a sure pores and skin color, physique sort, top, weight is seen as fascinating. Those that don’t conform to those “magnificence requirements” – like Deepika Padukone or Bipasha Basu, who’ve darker pores and skin – are known as “dusky beauties.” Extremely patronising time period.
Even in our movies, darkish pores and skin is at all times seen as a “hindrance” that must be “overcome.” It’s by no means only a pure characteristic. For example in Bala, Bhumi Pednekar, a good actress, was embarrassingly brownfaced for the position. And when dark-skinned actors like Nandita Das do roles, they’re instructed, “don’t fear, we’ll lighten your pores and skin.’”
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It’s heartening to see that the viewers has begun understanding the nuances of how stereotypes of colourism are propagated by Bollywood. And have begun calling the trade out on its nonsense. Bollywood must learn the room and work to enhance itself. As a result of actually, listening to extra songs like this one from Khaali Peeli, Beyoncé most positively sharma jayegi.
Picture credit score: YouTube screenshot
Views expressed are the writer’s personal.