Tamanna, Kajal A, Saloni, Tapsee, Samantha, Asin etc…probably this is the “whitest” Telugu movie female actors have been in a very long time. Since it is not natural to have such white people in Andhra Pradesh, they bring female actors from outside. If only super white girls are selected in the movies, I wonder if we would have seen super actors like Vijaya Shanthi, Bhanu Priya, Radha, Suhasini etc. As you can see in the below NDTV discussion, a popular Bollywood actor says that dark skinned actors are not seen as sweet. In the same video, you can see the advertisement guy saying that darker colored skin girls are not seen as homely, and he says that given a darker girl and fairer girl, both beautiful, the darker girl is seen as the girl you would take to a hotel, and the fairer girl to your home.
Fair and Lovely agrees with the above discussion making it obvious that darker skinned people are not fit for modeling. In almost all their ads, they make it clear that it is miserable to have darker skin tone.
I don’t think this is a problem with the movie or advertising. The problem is clearly deep rooted in the minds of people. This is probably an issue as old as the bias against women is. Even though it is ridiculous any discrimination against color of the skin, but it hurts even more when people of same origin biased based on a slight difference in skin color, in contrast to a comparison between a Caucasian and an African American.
I think the bias happens at each and every stage of the life. Fairer kids are loved more than darker kids. This discrimination is not more evident than during arranged marriages. All the guys (and the girls) want to marry only the lighter skinned people. Even the guys/girls who are darker skinned also want to marry the fairer people, because they want fairer kids, so at least their kids don’t suffer the discrimination they suffered. Studies also show that fairer people make money at jobs. While it must suck for darker skinned people to be ignored and cheated at every stage, I am sure this discrimination hurts the fairer people when their skin color is looked as an advantage over their real skills.
Fair and Lovely is the largest fairness cream in the world. From my own observation, beauty products like Santoor, Lux and Garnier are the single largest group of advertisements on the Indian TV. Fair and Lovely come up with so many products, now they are asking people to use multiple of their products, so they can become whiter even faster. They have fairness creams for men also with endorsements from the biggest stars of Bollywood and south. This tells more about what people care about. With the sales of Fair and Lovely going up by 15-20% every year, I don’t think this trend is changing anytime soon.