MY VIEW: Kangana Ranaut refusing to endorse fairness products is a bold step in breaking stereotypes

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As Kangana Ranaut declines a whopping offer of Rs. 2 crore to endorse a fairness product, she is on her way to changing mindsets once again. But will she succeed in a country like India which has a fetish for fair skin? 

Every Friday works in two ways for a film star – either it opens up a war chest in the form of endorsements of a myriad products arising out of sweet success at the box office, or there is an aura of melancholy that hangs in the air refusing to dissipate after rejection of a film by the audience. When the film becomes a hit, one finds the stars suddenly endorsing a plethora of products riding on the bandwagon of success achieved. After all, it is ephemeral and lasts only from one Friday to the next.

So the advertisers would have thought that Kangana Ranaut would also follow suit after the phenomenal success of Tanu Weds Manu Returns by embarking on a trip of endorsements and, in case of a female star, it usually is in the form of beauty product endorsements. More so those products that supposedly enhance the color of the skin and convert dark skin into white skin overnight as a successful star has started endorsing it.

But Kangana being Kangana Ranaut refused to bite the bullet of endorsement (reportedly Rs. 2 crore) and has created a stir in the market as she has once again chosen to tread on a path of her own.


Kangana Ranaut

Her reason for doing so stemmed from the fact that her sister has a dusky endowment, but it indeed has given a strong signal to the industry to not take the film stars for granted to endorse products that may not have a social acceptance.

One needs to underline that Kangana Ranaut is not ploughing the lone furrow, but she is the most successful ambassador espousing the cause supported ably by the likes of Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Irffan Khan etc., who also refused to take the bait.

For Kangana, the celebrity endorsement if not done with objectivity, is more akin to spreading disinformation about a product as also undermining the confidence of an individual who is not fair, as one hardly finds an endorsement underlining the dark complexion. For Kangana Ranaut, being a celebrity comes with lots of social responsibilities that cannot be crucified at the altar of commerce.

Nandita Das indeed would be proud about this bold step that Kangana Ranaut has taken as she was the first actress in recent times who raised the clarion call against the supposed fetish for white skin (more a product of media and associated industries than a reality).

Nandita Das

Nandita Das

After all, the covenants of beauty as defined in the Indian context have waxed eloquent about a skin that has subtle tones of darkness, which add mystique to the persona and the beauty from the times that treatise of beauty and love were written through our ancient texts, most eloquent being espoused through Kama Sutra of Vatsayana.

The fetish for white skin, as a matter of fact, is more a result of the sustained media campaigns backed by established stars who continue to endorse it, forgetting the fact that while they may be doing it for the moolah, their endorsement in a way undermines scores of individuals out in the countryside who are not blessed with the supposed white skin.

This fetish reached its apogee when stars of the likes of Shah Rukh Khan started endorsing it for the male of the Indian species as well.

Fair-and-handsome-fairness-cream-for-menPhoto source:

It needs to be underlined that Shah Rukh Khan was the first male star who endorsed a beauty cream synonymous with supposed characteristics of facilitating fairness of the skin along with a host of divas of the past and the present who had endorsed this product.

Searching in the annals of Hindi cinema, one would find that perhaps only a Mehmood had the guts to sing the song – Hum kaale hain to kya hua dil waale hain.


Photo source: Youtube

One only hopes that more such stars come forward and take the role of being a harbinger of social change as well, and not fall into the trap of commercialism and endorse a product that could spell a doom for more than half of the population of the country and undermine their confidence owing to the color of the skin that they have inherited from their birth, but find it, when they grow adult, to be a cause of being sidelined by the society.

– Nalin Rai

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About the author: Nalin Rai is a development professional who likes to bring to relief the development initiatives happening on their own in the moffusil parts of India and bring them into mainstream.

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