Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan is joining celebrities who have endorsed cringe-worthy, arguably racist, advertisements for fairness products. Over the years, they have informed Indians that the colour of their skin is key to beauty, success and happiness in their lives.
Roshan is the second celebrity to join the Fair and Handsome portfolio, eight years after Shah Rukh Khan started endorsing the brand, Emami said in a statement. He will endorse the "Fair and Handsome Instant Fairness Facewash."
“In the Indian summer, however tough men may be, it is but natural for men’s skin to be over-exposed to sunlight, sweat, oil and dirt due to the strenuous demands of the present day environment,” Roshan said. “I experience them regularly as my shoots take me outdoors, ruthlessly exposing my skin to these elements."
The actor said the face wash gives him a “refreshed feel and an instantly brighter look and I am glad the brand is putting emphasis on this aspect.”
Other celebrities, who have endorsed fairness products, include Sonam Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif, John Abraham and Shahid Kapoor.
While millions in India are trapped in their quest for fairness, criticism over the insensitive advertising of these products has also been growing. Over the past few years, the "Women of Worth’s Dark Is Beautiful" movement has sparked a conversation about being comfortable in one's own skin. They have led a campaign against Shah Rukh Khan's endorsement of Emami's "Fair and Handsome" products.
"Do you think that the Advertising Standards Council of India should have stricter guidelines and ban actors and public figures from endorsing advertisements that promote colourism? When will we get relief from colour bias in the media?," the movement said in response to the news about Roshan.
But not all celebrities are running after the money. Hindustan Times reported on the handful of celebrities including Randeep Hooda, Kangana Ranaut and Ranbir Kapoor who have refused to endorse fairness products despite the money being offered to them.
Reacting to rumours that she was offered a Rs 2 crore deal for endorsing a fairness cream, Kangana Ranaut had said, "Ever since I was a kid, I have never understood the concept of fairness. Especially, in such a case, as a celebrity, what kind of an example would I be setting for younger people? I have no regrets about turning this offer down. As a public figure, I have responsibilities."