Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum

INDIA AND THE DIASPORA => Indian Perspectives => Topic started by: fierytrini on June 11, 2014, 03:07:35 PM

Title: Blackface in Bollywood
Post by: fierytrini on June 11, 2014, 03:07:35 PM
I do enjoy watching Indian movies, especially the music and dances. I was fed a steady diet of them while growing up with my family. A lot of misconceptions get aired in these movies. India is rife with poor approaches to women and men in society. I am only bringing out the occurrence I experienced today.

Today, while viewing a particular song "Badan Mein Chandni," (loosely translated, my body is moonlight) I noticed the male dancers in compete blackface, yes, blackface. The male dancers were the only performers in covered in paint or makeup on the fave, torso and arms while the female dancers and lead are very light skinned. Makes sense to the director if the female is singing she is like moonlight as it puts more focus on the females and contrast with the darkly painted males.
This is the video (

Here's more, this time they added afros, look at 3:40 mark- (

Another example around 4:17 - (

A disturbing one here where one person is caged!- (

It is not the only example of blackface showing in the Bollywood arena. Since Bollywood started, they have used blackface. They have usually used it in portrayals of scheduled castes or what India likes to call tribal classes.

In 1983, the hugely successful film, Souten, the father is portrayed in blackface because the character is supposed to be of a lower caste or a Dalit. This is a quote from an Indian commentator on the movie "Very rarely do we have Dalit characters in movies and if they are, they are pathetic worms like Gopal in Souten surviving on the munificence of fair, upper caste types like Khanna (the lead actor) ( For all its mass-base, when it comes to caste,  it would seem, Bollywood still maintains many of its elitist biases.

Recently, a picture of 5 Chinese nationals in blackface and Indian wear outraged persons at a staff dinner. People think blackface was limited to persons portraying Africans , but the trend is also for darker skinned Indians as well. See the following for blackface in India (  and (

I wonder when they will stop using dark painted persons to highlight another person's whiteness in the film industry?