My recent stint crewing on a Hindi film by a local filmmaker netted me a small role. I was working on set, being my usual chatty self, talking to people about films and actors. When he found out I knew about Indian films, one actor’s first bon mot was that Shah Rukh Khan is “much darker” in real life than he appears on films. He said they use makeup to make him lighter, and had a bunch to say about how he’s not really a light-skinned person.
I think this info was supposed to scandalize me, and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I too have noticed SRK getting lighter over time, and wondered why. Maybe he’s so rich he can hire an umbrella-holder! Shoot, I wear SPF 30 myself, so I’m not as dark as I used to be.
To be honest, I’d welcome more darker people in films, Indian or otherwise, unless of course they are playing all the bad guys or stupid people.
That’s why I like commercial Indian cinema over American – I wanna see brown people as doctors, lawyers, teachers, truck drivers, sub kuch. Good people and bad, funny people and sad, the gamut. Not just as the occasional salsa dancer or hooker with a heart of gold. Yes, I know it’s lighter people featured in Indian films too, but at least it’s in the brown range. Having grown up watching American films where even the indies are relatively monochromatic in culture, I’m ready for something new.
One day on set the director asked in Hindi where an actor was. I answered him in Hindi, and he replied incredulously “You speak Hindi?” Uh, well, a little. I’ve been teaching myself for a few months.
I play a mean money lender. This bumbling guy is trying to shoot the TV pilot that will make him rich, and all he needs is the money. He’s tried everything else, and I’ll give it to him at 15% for the first couple months, then the rate goes up.