The color of one’s skin can lead to a bias in India. The prejudices against people of darker skin tone and the preference for fair skin is very prominent here especially from the point of view of matrimony. Zee TV being a socially responsible channel has taken up the cause of ‘Colorism’ in its popular primetime show, ‘Afsar Bitiya’, where the lead protagonist, Krishna (played by Mitali Nag), despite being a Block Development Officer has to face a lot of humiliation owing to her dark skin tone.
Said Mr. Sukesh Motwani, Fiction Head, Zee TV, “Skin color discrimination is very rampant in our country. Most dark complexioned girls have felt humiliated at some point or the other in her life because of her skin color. Every matrimonial site has advertisements for a ‘fair bride’. A dark complexioned girl undergoes tremendous emotional turmoil whereas her male counterpart leads a fairly easy life. We should always give respect to a girl/woman for what she is and not on the basis of the shade of her skin. In a country like India where fairness creams are flying off the shelves, it’s very difficult to get rid of this age old stigma. Earlier, we dealt with the same issue in our super hit show, ‘Saat Phere’ and now with ‘Afsar Bitiya’ we only hope to pass on a strong message against this bias.”
In the current track, Krishna’s dark complexion becomes a bone of contention for her in-laws and their relatives who disgrace and humiliate her openly for the same. Says Mitali Nag, the lead actress of the show who has been a victim of this social injustice in real life as well, “To start with I wouldn’t have been in Afsar Bitiya had I been fair. Having said that, even I had to face a lot of rejections in my career because of my dusky skin tone. Surviving in an entertainment industry which is obsessed with white skin is not easy.. I was almost finalized for a role as a lead actress in a show but was rejected at the eleventh hour on grounds that a fair skinned actress would be better suited for the role. As a child I was conscious of my complexion but looking at super models like Naomi Cambell and Noyonika Chatterjee gave me hope to make a mark in an industry which is obsessed about looks and filled with biases. The credit goes to my parents who made me believe that beauty is skin deep.”