Actress Tannishtha Chatterjee walked out of a television show on Tuesday in protest of the racist comments made by the show’s presenters. The actress, along with director Leena Yadav and actress Radhika Apte, were on the sets of Comedy Nights Bachao Taaza to promote their film, Parched. According to a DNA report, the actress left the show when the show’s presenters made racist remarks on her complexion.
The actress, who is known for Indian and international films like Parched, Road and Bricklane, wrote about the ordeal on her Facebook page on Monday. “I was told that the flavor of the show is COMEDY and the purpose is to roast, humor, and offend… I was actually looking forward to be roasted. And then this show began. And this was an entirely novel understanding of roast that equates itself with bullying. And to my utmost horror, I soon realized that the only quality they found worth roasting about in me was my skin tone,” she wrote.
“It began with “ aap ko jamun bahut pasand hoga zaroor… kitna jamun khaya aapne bachpan se?” [you must love black plums… how many black plums have you eaten since you were a child?] And went on in that direction… the only thing they could roast about a dark-skinned actress was of course her dark skin. They could identify me only with that,” she continued.
There is nothing funny in insulting a person on the basis of her/his skin-tone, said the actress. “Except there is nothing funny about this. Precisely because in a country where we still sell fair n’ lovely/handsome and show adverts, where people don’t get jobs because of their complexion, where every matrimonial advert demands a fair bride or groom and the color bias is so strong, in a society which has a deep-seated problem with dark skin, which also has deep roots in our caste system, in a country where dark skin is marginalized, making fun of it is not roast. Even considering that dark skin is a joke comes from that very deep prejudice,” she explained.
This is not the first time that Comedy Nights Bachao has gotten into trouble for racism. In an episode aired in May 2016, the presenters of the show called Lisa Hayden, one of the celebrity guests, ‘black African’. Lisa, along with actors Akshay Kumar and Riteish Deshmukh, were on the sets of the show to promote their film, Housefull 3. Siddharth Jadhav, one of the presenters, also described her as someone who looks like a “Kangaroo from Australia”. The remark infuriated Akshay Kumar and Riteish, and they got into a scuffle with the stand-up comic artist.
Feature Image Courtesy: Times Of India