Indian Fans Are Apologising To Beyonce For This Racist 'Khali Peeli' Song

It must take a special kind of obliviousness to use ‘gori’ in a song to praise a thin, fair-skinned actor’s dancing skills over Beyoncé.
Ananya Pandey and Ishaan Khattar in 'Beyonce Sharma Jayegi'
Ananya Pandey and Ishaan Khattar in 'Beyonce Sharma Jayegi'

No Bollywood fan, ardent or not, is a stranger to the industry’s blatant colourism, casteism and racism, no matter how many times actors tweet #BlackLivesMatter.

Just Google ‘gori bollywood song’ and you will get lists of songs, spanning decades, extolling the virtues of fair skinned women and their beauty.

In this day and age, however, it must take a special kind of obliviousness to use ‘gori’ in a song to praise a thin, fair-skinned actor’s dancing skills over Beyoncé, one of the world’s best known musicians and entertainers. No?

The makers of ‘Khali Peeli’ certainly had no second thoughts as they released the song ‘Beyonce Sharma Jaayegi’, starring Ishaan Khattar and Ananya Pandey.

What’s a bit of racism sprinkled over the regular dose of sexism?

And if you think that’s bad as it gets, the offensive song is also named after the African-American singer.

Indian Beyhive sprang to the artist’s defence soon enough, urging her to sue the makers of the film.

The comment’s section of the song’s YouTube video is also replete with comments calling out its racist lyrics.

Wasn’t it just last year that actress Bhumi Pednekar, who is light-skinned, was criticised for the use of brownface for her character in Bala?

2019 was also the year we saw Hrithik Roshan dunked in brown make-up to play Bihari educator Anand Kumar in Vikas Bahl’s Super 30.

And the year Zoya Akhtar defended Ranveer Singh’s extra brown skin in Gully Boy, saying it was merely a tan.

In an interview to CNN, director Neeraj Ghaywan had then said “they don’t even think there’s a problem. That’s the biggest problem.”

Did I say special kind of obliviousness? Nope. This is just Bollywood being Bollywood.