Have you ever wondered if men face the same discriminatory comments as faced by women due to their complexion? If you have then, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is going to answer you. Yes, men face the same discrimination and inferiority complex as women due to their skin colour. With the recent “Black Lives Matter” movement, a call to boycott and ban fairness creams and skin lightening lotions has raged on social media. In India, several brands have removed terms that promote complexion based discrimination from their product names or descriptions. However, with the number of women discriminated due to their skin colour being more than the number of men and due to our patriarchal structure of society, we miss out the fact that colourism has a similar impact on all genders.

In a recent interview, even a talented and popular actor like Nawazuddin Siddiqui revealed how he was supremely under confident about his looks which were partly due to his dark skin complexion. The lack of confidence soon turned to an inferiority complex as he felt that he might be disliked for not having a fair colour. Revealing about colourism to Cinema Express, the actor said, “I too grew up applying these fairness creams, expecting miraculous results. In fact, I remember that once, I didn’t even realize that the cream I was using wasn’t Fair and Lovely, but some fake Fair and Lovely. I spent a lot of time trying to make my skin fairer.”

Nawazuddin Siddiqui also spoke about how he eventually gave up on trying to become fair and instead, started focusing on developing his craft because that was surely going to take him somewhere in life.

“In mainstream Bollywood cinema, is there any really black-looking actor, male or female? I had an inferiority complex at first. But I guess the good thing is, I realized that since I couldn’t do anything about my face, I would be better served to focus on my craft. I knew I was nothing when it came to my personality or my looks. It took some time to come out of that trauma, but I’m glad I made that decision,” concludes Nawaz.

This clearly portrays how deep-rooted colourism is in Indian society. Though the major blows are felt by women, men aren’t spared thus proving that discrimination attacks all genders equally. In the most recent film by Nawazuddin Siddiqui called Raat Akeli Hai, which made a digital release on Netflix, he plays the character of a stout and stern police cop who has a complex about his dark skin and is seen applying fairness creams to look fair. The same experience is resonated by this Bollywood gem in practical life and it is evident that if a Bollywood actor has to face such crisis, what must have been faced by the masses for centuries.

As we move away from discrimination, we need to understand, just like Nawaz, that our inner talents and potential are what will make us someone someday and our success or social acceptance has nothing to do with our face!

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