The teaser of Anushka Sharma’s upcoming film, where she portrays Indian pacer Jhulan Goswami, has not been well received by some. While the content was exciting for many, some couldn’t understand why Sharma was chosen for the role. This accusation was not because of her acting chops but the resultant attempt at ‘Brownfacing’ .
The American cult film Tropic Thunder (2008), over the years, started being known for something else than its storyline or performances. Hollywood star Robert Downey Jr, in order to portray an African American, was accused of ‘blackfacing’. And as time passed, filmmakers around the world started to pay attention to these issues and have tried to cast characters who are true to the roles written for them.
In India, too, this has happened numerous times when an actor’s skin tone has been darkened to make him/her ‘look like the character’. The accusations vary from place to place.
Actors Hrithik Roshan (Super 30), Ashton Kutcher (in an American advertisement), Ranveer Singh (Gully Boy) and even Canadian PM Justin Turdeau have been have been accused of ‘Blackfacing’ and ‘Brownfacing’ previously.
These attempts are part of culturally appropriating a character. Today, it is seen as racist when a person belonging to one race or ethnicity tries to copy or appropriate the culture of another race by simply altering his/her appearance.
After actor Anushka Sharma released the teaser of her upcoming film Chakda Xpress, viewers couldn’t help but notice the change of look. Sharma, who is naturally light-complexioned person seems to have a darker skin tone by means of makeup.
The actor has been slammed for promoting ‘brownface’.
In 2014, when actor Priyanka Chopra was roped in to play the role of boxer Mary Kom, she used prosthetics to make herself look like the Manipuri Olympic medalist.
More recently, actor Aahana Kumra, too, had uploaded a photograph where she tried to ‘look’ like Goswami. The internet called her attempt ‘outrageous’.