Celebrating a decade of Dark is Beautiful, a new campaign, India’s Got Colour, has been released. A call for action is captured in a fun music video that intends to continue and amplify the conversation around inclusiveness and colour bias, specifically in the Indian context. Continuing to lend her name to the campaign against ‘Anti-Colourism in India’, Nandita Das joined hands with Mahesh Mathai, Ankur Tiwari and a slew of Indian actors to celebrate India’s Got Colour
In collaboration with filmmaker Mahesh Mathai, music composer Ankur Tewari and Sangita Jindal, Chairperson, JSW Foundation, actor-director Nandita Das, believes that such words as ‘dark’ and ‘beautiful’ do not need further reinforcement and, hence, the shift from Dark is Beautiful to India’s Got Colour, which she believes better embodies the rich diversity of India.
The new PSA, which premiered on September 26 at the JSW Centre in Mumbai, has the support of several artistes who have embraced the issue. They — and all the key members of the crew — have volunteered their time, effort and voice for this campaign. Ankur Tewari penned the lyrics along with Nandita Das and three young Mumbai rappers from Dharavi, Amogh Baine, Joshua known as MC Josh and Huma Sayyed. The G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture also extended support.
Among the actors who participated in the PSA were Ratna Pathak Shah, Kanwaljit Singh, Gul Panag, Swara Bhaskar, Radhika Apte, Suchitra Pillai, Tillotama Shome, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Vikrant Massey, Shweta Tripathi and Ali Fazal, to name a few.
India’s Got Colour is an extension of the Dark is Beautiful campaign launched in 2009 by Women of Worth (WoW). The aim was to challenge the belief that the value and beauty of Indian women is determined by the fairness of their skin. This belief — shaped by society’s attitudes and reinforced by media messages — is corroding the self-worth of countless girls and women in this country and also across the world. The campaign aims at instigating and inspiring change in traditional attitudes, perceptions and definitions of beauty. And, while it would appear that skin colour is an issue that affects women, the campaign has also drawn a strong response from men.
‘Time to reinvent the campaign’
‘I’ve been supporting the Dark Is Beautiful campaign since 2013 and, while we must combat the various forms of discrimination based on caste, religion, gender and sexual preferences, the least we can do is to end the bias on skin colour. I felt it was time to reinvent the campaign and create a PSA that would be catchy and youth-friendly. It’s our young minds who will change the public discourse around this issue and can make a tangible difference. The PSA intends to change the narrative to a more holistic celebration of diversity. After all, we are over 1.3 billion people and have that many shades of skin tones. I’m grateful to all the actors and crew who lent their full commitment to the cause’
- Nandita Das, on India’s Got Colour campaign
Nandita Das and Sangita Jindal at the launch of India’s Got Color‘Colour bias must change’
‘Colour bias is deep-rooted in our society and mindset. It needs to be recognised and called out. India’s a country of a fabulous variety of ethnicities, faiths and cultural diversity. We can be proud that India’s Got Colour. Although we’re doing this campaign on a shoestring budget, we also realize that our contribution to this cause faces formidable obstacles as the fairness cream industry spends crores and crores of rupees on its marketing campaigns. We’re grateful to Sangita Jindal and the JSW Group for agreeing to support the campaign and be its exclusive corporate sponsors as they, too, feel strongly about the issue’
— Mahesh Mathai, Co-Director, India’s Got Colour
‘Hope song has impact on social media’
‘I’ve always been appalled by the bias about skin colour. So, when Mahesh and Nandita reached out, I immediately agreed. I’ve tried to create a fun and catchy foot-tapping song that I hope will have a major impact on social media and help reset perceptions and start a dialogue among youths’
— Ankur Tewari, music composer
‘Women wearing their colour with confidence’
‘As countries, economies and organizations progress, many an Indian woman is taking leadership roles and significant prominence worldwide. She’s confident in her shade of colour and wears it with pride. This confidence stems from what she knows and how she feels about herself as woman. Through our association with Nandita Das and India’s Got Colour, we celebrate diversity as a critical need for progress and development’
— Sangita Jindal, Chairperson, JSW Foundation
‘Aim at educating consumers’
‘Amid a global craze for fairness products and careless advertising, we aim at educating and empowering consumers to make wise choices. From the start, our objective has been to combat gender discrimination and we’ve been working towards empowerment and safety of women’
- Kavitha Emmanuel, Founder, WoW