When in India you learn fair is lovely before you discover the colours that make the rainbow. Racism is the byword.
Our gora-versus-kala distinction is anything but subtle - so much so that responsible superstars like Shah Rukh Khan feel no shame endorsing skin-lightening brands like "Fair and Handsome".
So every cause and every individual who spells out our inherent colour bias should only be celebrated - and it is all for the better when Indian social media trolls a TV show, which serially passes off sexism and racism as comedy, for skin-shaming actress Tannishtha Chatterjee.
In her evocative Facebook post, Chatterjee called out Comedy Nights Bachao, for body-shaming her for her dark skin in what was intended to be a "roast".
Her horrid experience is so many of ours, and she lists the many ways colour bias destroys a person's self-esteem, even professional choices.
Very well, but at some point, the post insults the reader's intelligence - and comes across as insincere when Chatterjee says she expected a roast along the lines of Saturday Night Live.
"My perception of roast was formed by all the SNLs I watched over the years, and the commonly held perception that a roast is a celebratory humour at someone's expense . It is a mock counter to a toast. I was actually looking forward to be roasted. And then this show began. And this was an entirely novel understanding of roast that equates itself with bullying."
What is "novel" to the actress, who was incidentally promoting her film Parched on the show, is anything but. "Roast" is insult comedy in its most crass form, where no joke is seen as off-limits - and the roastee is familiar with the people making fun at their expense.
|What is "novel" to the actress, who was incidentally promoting her film Parched on the show, is anything but. (Photo credit: Google)|
Now unless Tannishtha Chatterjee has been living under a rock - and especially if she chose to talk about her film on the show - the actress would know that vulgar, and patently misogynistic jokes are the unique-selling point of Comedy Nights Bachao.
This brand of comedy thrives on popular comics like Lali who fat-shame themselves no end, and the likes of Kapil Sharma who take jabs at wives, grandmothers and aunts for their noses, eyes, complexion and age - all along cheered by audiences.
So, as a celebrity, when you use a chauvinistic show's popularity to promote your film - which ironically targets that very sexism and patriarchy - you leave no holy cows.
Every artist - superstar or debutant - is forced to give in to the demands of film promotions, and invariably rushes to the sets of wildly popular comedy shows ahead of their film's release, despite their low-grade content masquerading as humour.
Be it Deepika Padukone or Tannishtha Chatterjee, actors are guilty of putting behind their principles and personal beliefs for the greater good of their cinema - and it rankles deep when it takes an entire hour of skin-shaming offered as comedy to remind the celebrity of all that is wrong with the variety of humour.
Try not to colour bias as humour you say, but maybe, just maybe, don't be too eager to sell your art on a popular show running on vicious low-grade theatrics?