There was a time when Priyanka Chopra Jonas used to star in Indian movies like Dostana, Fashion and Barfi! I know it seems unreal but it’s true!
Priyanka Chopra wasn’t always the competent actor she is today. Flagbearer of social issues, Madhur Bhandarkar, directed and co-wrote 2008’s Fashion. The movie got a lot of praise for portraying the fashion industry realistically. Chopra and Kangana Ranaut even won National Awards for their performance. Suffice to say, Fashion was an overall hit.
Fashion’s ‘infamous’ scene
Madhur Bhandarkar is known to show the seedy underbelly of society and expose it through his films. The sex scenes in his movies are usually used as a commentary on an issue or a thematic metaphor, of sorts. It’s true for Fashion’s ‘infamous’ sex scene, as well.
Meghna Mathur (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) has come to Mumbai in the hopes of becoming a supermodel. She achieves her dream and even becomes an overnight success. But with great success comes great ‘bad decisions’, too.
Meghna clicks all the boxes of a clichéd ‘can’t handle the success’ superstar. She loses all her friends, has a toxic relationship, aborts a baby and even dabbles in alcoholism.
What’s next, you ask? If you guessed drug abuse and an ‘I will regret this the next morning’ one-night stand, you’re absolutely right.
At a rave party, Meghna is completely sloshed. She snorts enough cocaine to make even Pablo Escobar proud of her. I’ve seen a lot of movies to know nothing good happens after this.
Meghna makes a move on a black guy and grinds all over him. The guy is not stopping it and this eventually leads to the bedroom.
It’s the next day and Meghna wakes up, all sobered up. She doesn’t recognise the room. She slowly glances to her left and sees a stranger who’s fast asleep. Disgusted by life choices, she starts despising herself. This, pardon the pun, wakes her up and she makes her way out of the room.
A racist interpretation of the Fashion sex scene
The above-mentioned sex scene from Fashion is ‘infamous’ for a reason. Ever since the movie got released, people have misinterpreted this scene to death. I remember, even AIB mentioned this scene and even they got it wrong.
People believe that Priyanka’s terrified reaction is because of the black guy and that sleeping with a black person is the lowest of the low. Excuse me guys, but your racism is showing and it’s quite ugly.
Why Priyanka freaks out after sleeping with a black guy
This ignorant person also got it wrong. I’m sorry to burst your racist bubble, but that’s not why she freaks out. She sleeps with a complete stranger and all the bad decisions she’s taken in her life flashes before her eyes. She cannot recognise herself anymore.
Also, if you don’t remember having sex with a stranger, you won’t remember taking precautions, as well. She must’ve risked herself to various STDs. That’s why she’s scared. It’s not because of the colour of the skin of that stranger but it’s the stranger that shocks her.
It’s not because Meghna is racist.
Nothing in her character even hints at her racist inclination. People are filling the blanks with their own ugly thoughts.
You are racist, not Meghna.
The ‘Black Lives Matter’ Hypocrisy
With the killing of George Floyd making headlines throughout the world, it caught the attention of Indians, as well. Indians condemned the police brutality, as they should. But, that doesn’t mean we should ignore our problems.
For a country that’s still obsessed with “fairness creams,” for celebrities who used to and still promote these products, ‘Black Lives Matter’ sounds a little hypocritical.
Indians sell and buy self-worth through the colour of their skin. A person can crack a job interview if they get a few shades lighter. Yep, that was a set of approved advertisements on national television. Look it up.
Various leading Bollywood actors have endorsed fairness creams. Some still do.
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Here's a fun game: Match the Bollywood celebrity and their anti-racism message with their fairness cream advertisements. If you manage to get all of them matched correctly, you will win nothing because that's how life works. . . . . . . . . . . . . #Bollywood #BollywoodNews #DeepikaPadukone #PriyankaChopra #DishaPatani #SonamKapoor #celebrity
Disha Patani who endorses POND’s fairness cream tweeted how ‘All Colours are Beautiful’. People on the internet were quick to show her the hypocritical mirror.
Years ago, Priyanka had also done a horrible commercial for POND’s in which Saif Ali Khan rejects her for being dark and accepts only when she applies fairness cream and attains “gorapan”.
From Sonam Kapoor to Alia Bhatt, from Shah Rukh Khan to Sidharth Malhotra, the enablers of fairness products are endless.
However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that Priyanka and Sonam Kapoor have gone on record to apologise for their respective fairness cream endorsements. A small step, but an important one nonetheless.
But now what? Surely, this must mean the end of fairness creams, right? Not yet. Abhay Deol posted an in-depth discussion over the problem of “fairness cream endorsements” on his Instagram page.
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Overall analysis Fairness creams in India have evolved over the years, from being fairness creams to now using euphemisms like “skin brightening/ whitening”, or “lightening creams”. Most brands no longer want to be associated directly with being termed as 'fairness creams’. So now we have brands selling “HD glow”, “White beauty”, “white glow”, “fine fairness”, and so on. Over the years these companies have turned their attention towards the Indian Men, who are now trying to be "fair and handsome", and have dedicated power white ranges for them too. The hunt for fairness: Neutrogena fine fairness: Could not locate it on their global websites but it is available on Amazon and other sellers:https://www.amazon.in/Neutrogena-Fine-Fairness-Cream-SPF20/dp/B00BSPOXMW/ Ponds have a white beauty range: The range includes products like anti-spot fairness cream which is available on affiliate websites like Amazon and Nykaa. On their own website could locate just the White beauty cream. https://www.ponds.com/ph/products/collection/white-beauty/day-cream-for-normal-skin.html* Loreal white perfect day cream: Apparently reduces the melanin level in the skin, gives a rosy appearance to your skin and is suitable for all Indian skin types. "reduce skin darkening and boost anti-spot whitening for a brighter & younger look"https://www.lorealparis.co.in/products/skin-care/day-cream/white-perfect-clinical-day-cream/ Recently, Procter & Gamble skincare brand Olay announced that it will no longer retouch skin in its advertising by 2021 because it reflects an idea of beauty which is almost impossible to achieve. The statement was made during an event in New York. In March 2019, Olay also came up with a creative campaign #FaceAnything with @masabagupta @kubbrasait , @lilly, @bikewithgirl and @_payalsoni_ #Fairandlovely #prejudice #racism #fairskinobsession #fairnesscreams #kalagora #flawlessskin #hdglow #whiteness #complexion #skintone #shades #pearlextracts #microcrystals #ayurveda
Fashion’s sex scene, till today, is misinterpreted. Priyanka, too, was condemned by some for posting “Black Lives Matter” post as she didn’t like sleeping with a black guy in a movie. First of all, I agree Priyanka is a hypocrite and she should be criticised for her hypocrisy on various things. *Ahem* Condoning the ban on firecrackers because she suffers from asthma and then happily smoking cigarettes with her hubby, who, lest we forget, constantly smokes cigars around her *ahem*.
But not for Fashion.
The situation in America is bad and there’s no denying. But, virtue signalling is not the way forward. In case you didn’t know, we have issues in India, as well. Discrimination on the basis of colour, for starters. Even today, South Indians are still addressed as “Kala” in some parts of the country. “Chinki” or “Chinese” are terms used for the North-Easterns. People hailing from West Bengal are immediately labelled as “Bangladeshi”.
Until we address all these issues, we have no right to criticise any other country.