Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Do we want to be ‘white’?


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 Tamil (somewhat older) bloke scoring pretty chicks.

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.

16 comments:

Parthi said...

i dnt know but its the truth...for example in my family i feel ashamed to say this but my grandmother prefers fairer skinned daughter in laws and grand children..she openly favorites the fairer skin.. also I knwo ppl especially in lanka where if they see a person ( especially girl) whos fairer than the rest no matter what kinda bad person that he or she might be immediately gets the attention the service needed...utter stupidity

N said...

I like dark girls...especially when they have luminescent skin...I generally have to chase my tongue down the street...not that I would say no to a pretty fair one either, but def prefer the darker ones.

Shifan said...

Well, as you said it's all created by advertisements...

so many fairness creams for women like Fair and lovely, fairever

for men Fair and handsome, Nivea, again Fair and lovely for men...

as a matter of fact Rajini is not a Tamil.

Deane AKA ~CC~ said...

Ah so he's a marathi! is it? i had a sneaking suspicion..

i donno about adverts 'creating' demand. i think its a matter of perception to begin with. Europeans seems to want to 'Tann' themselves while our people want to get somewhere there as well..

N, yes. i think many of us do. . but i guess still everybody wants to become fairer, not white. fairer, 'luminescent' if you will. :)

Prathi. I guess you are right.

cheers.

Female perspective said...

OK, fairs fair. Female perspective here. Aesthetically, I prefer beautiful dark handsome men to fair handsome men. Especially lean, defined muscle tone with dark skin.

Of course if there is a dark ugly man and a fair handsome man, or vice versa, then you don't need to have to guess which one I would go for!

N said...

oh didn't mean luminescent as in fair...but dark girls that have this amazing skin...that u never find in fairer girls....hard to describe...must be experienced:)

Female perspective said...

Its true about the luminescence. Dark people tend to get less wrinkles and don't have ugly red blotches when they get acne, stay out in the sun or eat hot curries. Not all dark people have good skin, but when they do, it tends to be above average.

Think thats why some of those resplendent hindu gods are blue or indigo.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dinidu de Alwis said...

Exactly... Dark/tan skin... :P

Deane AKA ~CC~ said...

Very Funny Din.. why didnt u post in ur name before :P.

Anonymous said...

Now why did you delete my comment? do you not like thilini?

Deane AKA ~CC~ said...

who?

Jack Point said...

Just read the matrimonials inteh Sunday Observer and see what parents look for.

Female perspective said...

Yes, have had similar experience. Old grandma, saying some guy is goodlooking and then finding out it was just the fair skin.

Hard for oldies to comprehend one would prefer Denzel Washington to Danny de Vito.

Anonymous said...

I get called the "colour Clut Rani" for bringing up this issue with my south asian friends. Yes, I believe majority of men and women prefer and find fair females prettier. My analysis is because they were socialized to do so. It is a socially constructed phenomena. And in my opinion anything that is socially constructed can be deconstructed with a little bit/or alot of work!

Now in regards to Sivaji, there was an interesting dialogue that Vivek brought up when responding to the colour issue of Rajini. He said that, "in Tamil Nadu, there are two things you can't talk about - Colour, and Virginity." (sorry for the weak translation).

What did you think of that comment? Is it true? We're not supposed about 'complexion' but we do so. And we're not supposed to talk about 'virginity' but we do so, right?

P.S I think Fair in Lovely should be banned! In India, Sri Lanka, and here in Canada as well!

Indian-princess said...

This shit aint tru, u damn assholes.