Nawazuddin Siddiqui today criticised the bias against dark-skinned people after the casting director of one of his films reportedly said it would be “weird” to cast fair-looking people opposite the actor. The 43-year-old actor sent netizens into a tizzy yesterday with his cryptic tweet, purportedly in response to the remarks by Sanjay Chouhan, the casting director of “Babumoshai Bandookbaaz”.
Chouhan, in an interview with a daily, had apparently said that after Chitrangada Singh walked out of the film, they wanted an actress who would look suitable opposite Siddiqui as “you can’t cast fair and handsome people with Nawaz. It would look so weird.”
“Thank you for making me realise that I cannot be paired along with the fair and handsome because I’m dark and not good looking, but I never focus on that,” Siddiqui tweeted last night without naming anyone.
Chouhan today denied ever commenting on Siddiqui’s appearance.
In an interview with PTI, Siddiqui today spoke out against the notion that fair is handsome.
“People have their own perceptions. If a casting director thinks that he can’t cast a fair and handsome actor opposite me, it is his problem. I don’t focus or get bothered by what others think about my looks. But such things do hurt me,” Siddiqui said.
He said it would be wrong to blame the industry alone for this attitude as it exists everywhere in the country.
“It is not only about the film industry. This is the mindset of our society. In my village, whenever I said, ‘I want to be an actor’, people would say, ‘Have you ever seen yourself in the mirror?’ I have always been told that. But if you are focused, these comments don’t matter.
“People say get a fair wife… Why? Aren’t dark girls beautiful? In our society, there is this weird concept of beauty and good looks. This perception of conventionally good looking is forced on us,” the actor said.
Thank U 4 making me realise dat I cannot b paired along wid d fair & handsome bcz I m dark & not good looking, but I never focus on that.
— Nawazuddin Siddiqui (@Nawazuddin_S) July 17, 2017
Chouhan, in an interview with PTI, said his comments were misconstrued and he never used the phrase “fair and handsome”.
“I was completely misquoted. All I said was the film needed actors as good as Nawazuddin. You need actors who could match his stature. I don’t know from where the ‘fair and handsome’ bit came but I never said the words,” Chouhan said.
“I would never want to hurt Nawaz sir or the film by giving such statements. I haven’t yet spoken to him, but I am deeply saddened by how the comments, which I never made in the first place, have been played out,” he added.
Siddiqui’s tweet has sparked a debate on social media, with celebrities such as Hansal Mehta, Tannishtha Chatterjee and others slamming the obsession with fair skin.
“These people don’t realise that privilege is not their birthright @Nawazuddin_S #DarkIsBeautiful. You shine and you are one of the best actors,” said Tannishta, who had once walked out of a comedy show after she was made fun of for being dark skinned.
“That’s why you are special Nawaz,” Mehta said, while retweeting Siddiqui’s post.
“Looks are temporary, hard work is permanent… Much love and respect to you @Nawazuddin_S bhai,” comedian Zakir Khan said.