I happened to watch the trailer of Ayushmann Khurrana and Jitendra Kumar’s (Jeetu darling!! :D) upcoming movie “Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan”. I was wondering how Ayushmann manages to find so many amazing scripts, almost all of them dealing with topics that are still considered a taboo in our society or addressing prevalent societal evils in a wonderfully relatable way. Kudos to him for that! And of course, to the others behind his projects!

But it brought out an urge to write about a complaint I had quite a while back after reading raving reviews for his last movie “Bala” – a movie about shattering ‘accepted’ body images in our society. A complaint I know that many people had, a complaint that seems way too delayed to write about now, a complaint nonetheless that I would like to put in words only for my sake. (I know! Sometimes my topics can be ancient!)

“Bala” is a movie that tries to convey a lovely message to our society – that beauty is not about fair skin or lush black hair and these should not be the parameters to accept or reject a person. My problem with this movie, which I could see from reviews has been executed very well, is the casting of its lead actresses. A movie that strives to shatter body images goes ahead and contradicts itself in the stupidest way possible by casting:

1) Yami Gautam, an actress who is the brand ambassador and face for a fairness cream, the advertisements of which have been a continuing testimonial of how pathetic our concept of beauty is – that to move ahead in life, whether it is in career, romantic relationships, you have to be fair! The higher you are on the “fairness meter”, the better your life is! And while she tries to save her face by saying that she convinced the brand to change its marketing strategies, the truth is that she is still the face of a society that holds up the “fairness meter”.

2) Bhumi Pednekar, an actress who is not dusky as far as I can see, and who had to be painted brown to suit the character of a dusky woman who is rejected by men for her complexion. A character that ideally should have been done by a dusky actress (and no one will say that all the women in the country who can act are fair). But as is the case with the character, a dusky actress is someone who has had to face rejection time and again only because of her complexion.

Irony? Hypocrisy? Epic fail? What should I call this screw-up?