Open letter to Tamil Cinema –  Let Brown women play brown women!

Brown is pretty! Dusky is beautiful! Dark-skin is the new flaunt!

Dear Tamil Cinema,

The beauty of the Indian race is its natural, brown complexion that goes up a notch when that sun-kisses our faces. Then why the discrimination in representing our originality on the big screen? Why are there very few or no dark-skinned leads being cast in our cinemas?

This practice is highly predominant in the South film industry. With your nativity, it should be you, a cinematic medium propagating more dark-skinned actors but the reality is a contrast. This prejudice is explicit if the lead is a woman. Sometimes even when the script demands a dark-skinned actor, the filmmakers yet again decide to go with a light-skinned woman with a layer of dark makeup.

If considering a list of lead male actors, there are more dark-skinned men than the light-skinned or of medium complexion but when considering their counterparts’ list, the results are sparsed with dark-skinned women. With our society teaching us, fair is pretty, there is no shock to see your industry celebrating beauty any differently.

This epitome of discrimination propagating the caucasian and Aryan features to be the standards of beauty in a society is not something new to the Indian women. But with Cinema having a huge power to influence and reap a seed to bring a change in the society, showing such alternate and unconventional ideals of promoting brown and dark-skinned women on the big screen can surely be a start in the right path.

Maybe you can take notes from your ancestors from the ’80s, ’90s where they cast more dusky women than now. Radhika, Radha, Silk Smitha, Easwari Rao, Nanditha Das, and many more made their marks then but now such actors have been reduced to a handful like Aishwarya Rajesh, Priyamani, etc. Let these women play the roles that are applicable and as the script demands. Maybe more of Aishwarya playing the village girl in Namma Veetu Pillai and less of Samantha wearing dark makeup and playing a Sri Lankan Tamil girl.

Let Brown women play Brown women in movies! Brown, dark-skinned, light-skinned, why labels? It is 2021, let’s join hands to promote body positivity. Let’s break these colorism and color-oriented stereotypes together! Every color, body, race is beautiful. Let us celebrate every beauty, everybody!


Another Brown Girl!

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