Beauty is a gift of nature and a subjective topic at best. Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder and given so many cultures, there are as many views on this. Unfortunately, when it plays an outsized role in the lives of talented people like the seasoned actress Sonali Kulkarni, a national award winner and several Film Awards, one does wonder as to why India is obsessed with fair skin. It is all the more ironic given India’s climate.
Even after so much progress, the film industry is still in the grips of fair skin. Not only does this hamper women who don't fit this model of fairness, it also subjects them to a lot of unnecessary social burden, besides consequences for career, marriage, and in the case of Bollywood, rejections from auditions.
So when we sat down with the renowned actress Sonali Kulkarni, we were surprised to hear the extent of colorism she faced. Yes, the fairness taboo has once been the complex of the bautiful actress. Recently, the Dil Chahta Hai actress Sonali appeared on Jay-Ho! The Jay Kumar Show, where she brightened up the virtual set with her grace and her beautiful smile. In the conversation, Sonali spoke about the color discrimination which she faced during her earlier days.
Reminiscing about her first audition, Sonali mentioned how unlike today, when expensive makeup is found even in remote areas, earlier, the circumstances were different. It was the time when fair complexion very much important. She admits to having a complex at that time about her skin tone and mentioned how neighborhood women teased her about it. This was not the only obstacle. When the Cheluvi director Girish Karnad conducted an audition for girls from Pune, Sonali was selected as one of the participants. At her first audition too, one of the aunties would taunt her, “ Why are you here? You are such an ordinary person, you are so dark, why are you here beta, please go home.”
This colorism was a heartbreaking contrast to her high hopes and dreams. For her first audition, Sonali revealed, “I was wearing the punjabi suit which my brother had gifted me out of his IIT scholarship money. It was the most expensive gift and the most beautiful punjabi suit I have received.” I went there to meet Girish Karnad and had no thoughts of becoming a heroine but that aunty’s comments “broke my heart”, as she describes.
Thankfully, though other women may have tried pulling her down, Sonali credits her mother for getting over this complex. Sonali mentioned one emotional story where she asked herself why she faced such comments and why she wasn't fair, her mother answered, “I think you are the most beautiful girl and I love you so much." She also mentioned how her friend, philosopher, and her guru Pandit Satyadev Dubey ji also told her, "Until you don't accept yourself, till then how will you allow the audience to accept you. Every time you have reasoning in your heart then the audience will also have some reason not to accept you." This statement provoked her immensely and led her to say “We all are beautiful human beings, we are the unique creations of God and our parents. So, rather than complaining, let's celebrate it.”
Of course, we all now know how that aunty’s comments were absolutely unjustified given that Sonali has given fabulous performances in Dil Chahta Hai, Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya, Taxi Number 9211, Cheluvi, Kaccha Limbu, and many more. Not only that she has many fans who appreciate her classical beauty. There are many more fascinating stories and anecdotes and tidbits to follow from the legend herself so keep following Jay-Ho! The Jay Kumar Show to know more about the very gorgeous and talented Sonali Kulkarni.