What do movies like Super 30, Bala and Udta Punjab have in common? They all highlight how blatantly Bollywood promotes the problematic concept of brownface. The entertainment industry practised casting light-skinned actors to play dark-skinned characters and it was highly offensive. The most recent Hindi web series that picked up on this godawful trend was The Family Man 2. It portrayed actress Samantha Akkineni several shades darker than her original skin tone and that truly infuriated us. Well, we had hoped that Indian filmmakers would finally learn their lesson with the backlash they received online. But sadly, it seems that Bollywood has turned tone-deaf to the outrage once again.
Netflix India just dropped the teaser of Chakda ‘Xpress on its social media handles and we’ve so many thoughts about it. The movie is inspired by the life of Jhulan Goswami, the former captain of the Indian women’s cricket team. Anushka Sharma will be playing the leading role in the film, and tracing the journey of one of the fastest female pacers in the history of world cricket. While that sounds promising, we wonder why the makers of the movie had to go ahead and ruin it all by portraying the actress in brownface. Take a look at the teaser to know what we’re talking about:
Here’s why this teaser is disappointing us big time:
Jhulan Goswami is one of the greatest cricketers of all time. She’s the highest wicket-taker and the first bowler to take 200 wickets in Women’s ODIs. She faced several obstacles in her career due to the misogynistic outlook of society that once believed that women cannot play the sport. She smashed all stereotypes and focussed on turning her one dream into reality—of playing cricket and making her country proud.
It’s truly an inspirational story and one that needed to be told on the silver screen. However, why did the filmmakers have to cast Anushka to play the role? We can clearly see tons of makeup on the actress’s face and post-production editing that has turned her several shades darker than her original complexion. But why did the producers (one of them being Anushka herself) not cast a brown-skinned actress for the role? Before someone comes up with the excuse that it’s because she’s talented and fits the role perfectly, let us ask this simple question—is there no brown-skinned woman in our country talented enough to play the same character? There, you have your answer now!
On one hand, the makers of the film are claiming to make a movie on women empowerment. But on the other hand, they’re insulting us all by casting a fair-skinned woman to play a dark-skinned character. Here’s what the netizens have to say about the problematic casting:
Remember the cringe we felt every time Hank Azaria, who played the role of Apu in The Simpson, tried to imitate an Indian accent? It was highly problematic for a white actor to be voicing a character of Indian origin. It’s not the first time when an entertainment industry has promoted cultural stereotypes and Bollywood is responsible for doing the same. Case in point—Anushka’s failed attempt at imitating Bengali accent in Chakda ‘Xpress. It is not sitting right with many of us and here’s what the netizens are saying:
Basically, the makers of Chakda ‘Xpress went through the trouble of roping in a fair-skinned actress only to brownface her later and train her to have an inauthentic accent. Here’s something they should consider doing instead—do away with their obsession with fair skin and actually cast a woman that resembles the character.
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