Bollywood’s obsession with fair skin contributed to her departure: Priyanka Chopra

Published : 30 Mar 2023 09:25 PM

Indian actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas has said that Bollywood’s everlasting “obsession with fair skin” was one of the reasons she left the industry to try her luck in Hollywood eight years ago.

Priyanka, also a former Miss World, was at the height of her success in India’s Bollywood when she unexpectedly declared her decision to relocate to the United States, reports The Guardian.

The actress had previously declined to clarify her reasons for leaving Bollywood, but recently told Dax Shepard on the podcast “Armchair Expert” that she was “tired of the politics and certain cliques” that needed to be “grovelled” to.

Priyanka described how “dark skinned” actresses, such as her, were treated in Bollywood.

“I was lightened up in many movies. Through makeup and then blasting lighting. There was a song which I still remember. It was called Chitti Dudh Kudi which means a girl who is as white as milk and I ain’t that but I was playing her and I was really lightened up in the movie,” she was quoted as saying.

Priyanka Chopra said that fair-skinned actresses had a higher chance of getting picked for lead roles and succeeding, and that even a celebrity like her suffered prejudice. “If you were darker – I’m not even that dark – for darker girls it was: ‘Let’s lighten you up’.”

Priyanka, who is married to American musician and actor Nick Jonas, expressed guilt for appearing in an early advertisement for a fairness cream, said the Guardian report.

She now believes that such advertisements are harmful to the self-esteem of Indians with dark complexion. She said she then agreed to the ad because big cosmetic companies give prominence and revenue for female celebrities. “A beauty brand is a really big part of an actress’s trajectory,” she said.

Moving to Hollywood is risky for Indian actors, but Priyanka has had success – appearing in US TV shows such as “Quantico” and starring in the film “The White Tiger”.

Priyanka has maintained a large fan base in India, and her comments have gained widespread attention. They are unlikely to alter much, either in the Bollywood film industry or in wider society, where light skin is still regarded as more attractive, the report said.