Actor and Filmmaker Nandita Das’s new campaign India’s Got Colour aims at eliminating the stigma that comes with being dark-skinned. Accompanied by a 2-and-a-half-minute long song starring some celebrities, the campaign questions people’s obsession with a song that’s got rap and melody and is going viral on SheThePeople’s Facebook Page.
Nandita Das spoke to SheThePeople.TV about her campaign, why it is important for women to believe in themselves, her life mantra and more.
Bollywood and colourism
“In our Hindi film songs, you hear ‘gore gore gaal’ or ‘gori kalaiyaan,’ wherein being fair is almost a synonym for being beautiful. In fact, most actors in Bollywood are light-skinned and even the dark-skinned are getting lighter day by day. “If you see their first film and if you see them now, there is a completely different color of their skin”, she says adding that this subconsciously tells us the audience that dark skin is not good, right or beautiful.
“This kind of reinforcement as an audience makes them believe that if such a big actress is not feeling good about being her own skin colour then who am I? I am nobody”, she explained.
She also emphasized on the role of individuals and media houses to keep talking about the issue and encouraging everyone to be comfortable in their skin. But what can women do at an individual level to not get bogged down by such biases? How do they gain confidence?
Invest in your talent
“It is tragic how many women come to me and talk about their stories. And there are no easy solutions to this because gaining confidence is a very abstract and a deeper thing. I cannot tell someone to feel confident. It has to come from within”, she said.
“Focus on your talents and your interest. This will help you feel more complete. It is a long process. It will not happen in a day. But gradually you will discover your true self and you will realise that how you look is a very small part of your identity”, she suggested.
Role of education in empowerment of a woman
Getting the right education empowers a woman. “Right and good education enable you to make the right life choices, your confidence grows, you can apply for a job and be financially independent. Women, especially need to stand on their two feet so that their life choices are not dependent on others.”, she said.
Building a network of women
Building a strong support group is also important, advocated Nandita. “I have some great women friends who have always supported me and continue to do so. When women bond, they do it deeply. They understand each other’s situation better. We should give them time.
On asking about her life’s mantra, Nandita said that in a country where there are so many forms of discrimination, it should be to just live and let live. “Have empathy. Live on your own terms and let others live.”
Nandita says that she feels strongly about women’s issues. “Prejudice and discrimination is at the core of my work – whether it is the columns I write or doing campaigns. We have all prejudices. How can we look deeper?”, she signed off.