With the release of the much awaited ‘Sivaji’ I often wondered why South Indians like, no not like – hysterical! about Rajnikanth. A dark, less than average looking guy who does silly things on movies, what’s the deal?
But wait! Rajnikanth on Sivaji is actually white!
In a strange manifestation of the Indian obsession of having light skin, they actually used CG to get the skin complexion of a European woman and apply the skin tones to Rajnikanth producing white-rajni. Quite brilliant, but why?
Some time ago I read a blog post on ‘Indian racism’ which narrated a story about a Kenyan taking a bus ride in India, where he kept getting pointed out to kids and getting called ‘negro’. The post went on to say that Indians, being ‘brown’ somehow think of themselves as being in the ‘middle’ above ‘blacks’ and under ‘whites’. It went on to cite the case of how despite being generally dark skinned, South Indian movies almost exclusively featured light skinned heroines.
Now the makers of sivaji have extended the fairness to the ‘hero’ as well. To be fair (no pun intended), people loved Rajni when he was dark, and overweight. His largely male fan-base loves seeing this average south-Indian
What’s going on then? Is it some sort of a colonial hang-over? I don’t know. But do Indians and even Sri Lankans generally think that being fair is prettier? I think it’s naive to deny it.
Personally I’d trade in Aishwariya Rai for Bipasha Basu any day, but then Bipasha is not particularly dark, and her ‘lack of fairness’ is more than overcompensated by her, well, package.
But generally speaking do we adore ‘fair’ women (even men) over dark ones? Sales of fairness cream might offer a clue.