Tamannaah Bhatia, a Sindhi actress who learned to speak Telugu later in her career, is one of many non-Tamil/Telugu or fair-skinned actresses in the South Indian film industry. However, actresses are often offered roles based on their fair skin, leading to a stereotypical portrayal of bubbly, innocent, and alluring female characters. Here I explore the hypocrisy of fair skin bias in South Indian cinema which is prevalent since many years and nobody yet talked about it.
The Birthplace of Telugu Actresses:
Many leading Telugu actresses are not actually from the Telugu-speaking region, and some have struggled to speak the language properly in films. Dubbing artists have had to correct this, but it has led to a stereotype of female roles and limited opportunities for dark-skinned actresses.
The Hypocrisy of Fair Skin Bias:
Production houses and filmmakers often cast fair-skinned actresses who can’t even speak the language properly in lead roles based solely on their skin color, while talented actresses who know the language well are sidelined. This double standard is evident in the industry’s preference for fair-skinned actresses, despite claiming that looks don’t matter.
Amy Jackson’s Rise to Fame:
Even non-Indian actresses like Amy Jackson have become prominent in South Indian cinema, thanks to the industry’s obsession with fair skin. In one film, her face was even smeared with make-up to show the effect of fairness cream.
Male Dominance in the Industry:
Male actors in the South Indian film industry enjoy longer and more varied careers than their female counterparts, who are often limited to supporting roles or love interests. It is difficult to find films where the presence of female actresses is average, let alone dominant.
The fair skin bias in South Indian cinema is a hypocrisy that must be addressed. While Bollywood may have given up on this issue, the South Indian film industry still has room for improvement. It’s time for the industry to recognize that talent and language skills matter more than skin color.