Ms. Lakshmi Anil
Session 2-C. Colorism, Casting, and Casteism in Malayalam Cinema from the Early 1990s to the Present.
DescriptionThis session focuses on the Malayalam film industry and how it has come under fire for underrepresenting people with darker skin tones by favoring fair-skinned actors. The media has a significant impact on this issue. Although “whitewashing” the hero is a well-known cultural practice, this session aims to bring attention to the practice of concealing fair skin with dark makeup in order to look the part. The idea of colorism is relatively new to the Malayali audience; this could be for one of two reasons: either there is a lack of knowledge about the topic, or it has been accepted as normal for too long. This session also attempts to examine Malayalam films, focusing on caste, from the black-and-white era to the present, that support colorism. Unknowingly or intentionally, the directors are attempting to spread the idea that some characters are “allowed” to look a certain way simply because of their caste. This session will focus on colorism and casting misconduct that encourages colorism in the Malayalam film industry, starting with Vigathakumaran(1928), the first Malayalam feature film, and ending with Adrishya Jalakangal.