Actor-producer Abhay Deol has slammed fairness cream advertisements, featuring celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and John Abraham, in “reference to a comment made by a politician on TV”.
Though he didn’t name the politician, he may have been taking a swipe at BJP MP Tarun Vijay, who told Al Jazeera last week: “If we were racist, why would we have all the entire south… why do we live with them if we are racist? We have black people around us.”
Following the remarks, Abhay posted a series of fairness cream campaigns on Facebook on Wednesday.
“We are not a racist country! I will prove it to you. In the picture below, John holds a card with shades from white to dark. Hey! You can see the promise of darker skin too if you read the card from left to right!,” he said.
“He’s not telling you to go from right to left. Duh! Even if the writing on the tube reads ‘Intensive fairness moisturiser’. It just means it’s ‘fair’ to all who use it,” the actor captioned the image.
In another one, featuring actress Vidya Balan, he wrote: “This one asks the question ‘How true is your fairness?’ And further asks if you just have an ‘outer white layer’ or is your ‘radiant fairness from within?’ It even has the words ‘Veda’ in the packaging and that goes to prove we are originally white from within. Know your history folks!”
It wasn’t just about women endorsing skin whitening brands.
He shared an ad with the image of actor Shahid Kapoor. He wrote alongside the image: “His face is dark on the right only because that part of the paper was left exposed to the sun. They are clearly not trying to show a dark shade going on to light. Shame on you to think our celebs would be so irresponsible, there’s a good explanation for everything!”
Abhay also wrote about how SRK was “clearly trying to make you a man, becoming whiter in the process is just a side effect”.
Actress Deepika made it to his hit list as well.
“It says ‘2-in-1 fairness cream’. If you notice her eyes are also lighter than they are in real life. So ‘2-in-1’ must be you can put it in your eyes to change their colour. It’s not so much a ‘fairness’ cream as it is a coloured lens for the eyes. And who wouldn’t want grey eyes eh? It’s the colour of Delhi in the winter. What a patriotic cream!”
He concluded the fairness cream bashing by posting about actress-filmmaker Nandita Das.
Sharing her image, he wrote: “Silly Nandita trying to teach us that Black is also beautiful. Doesn’t she know that we already know that? Why else would we be so accepting of people from the south*? What’s that? She’s from Orissa? Can we include that in the southern belt of states? Cause I really want to believe in my bullshit. *in reference to a comment made by a politician on TV.”
He further wrote: “There’s a lot more of these campaigns that are blatantly, and sometimes subtly, selling you the idea that whiter skin is better than darker skin. No one at the top of their game in any field is going to tell you that it is demeaning, false, and racist.”
“You have to see that for yourself. You have to stop buying into the idea that a particular shade is better than others,” he pointed out.
“Unfortunately, if you look at matrimonial ads, you will see how entrenched in our psyche this belief is. We even use the word ‘dusk’ to describe the colour of someone’s skin. While an individual may not be able to change this attitude in his/her community, he/she can at least start with the family,” he signed off.