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Tannishtha hits out at comedy show for joking about her skin colour

The Parched actress describes her ordeal.

Keyur Seta

Actress Tannishtha Chatterjee recently walked out of the TV show Comedy Nights Bachao after she was hurt by the jokes made on her skin colour. She was present at the show to promote her film, Parched. She was accompanied by director Leena Yadav and co-actress Radhika Apte. 

The actress revealed her ordeal and the reason for walking out in a long Facebook post. Describing her experience as ‘shocking,’ she said that she was told that the format of the show involved roasting the guests. But, according to her, the show promoted bullying in the name of roast. 

She said, “And to my utmost horror, I soon realised that the only quality they found worth roasting about in me was my skin tone. It began with ‘aap ko jamun bahut pasand hoga zaroor… kitna jamun khaya aapne bachpan se?’ And went on in that direction… the only thing they could roast about a dark-skinned actress was of course her dark skin. They could identify me only with that. I could not believe I was sitting in a nationally televised comedy show in 2016 in Mumbai amid such regressive (I cant call it humor), and blatantly racist content.”

But despite feeling humiliated, she thought of giving the show another chance. It didn’t help though. “Nothing changed. I could not sit there anymore. I had to leave. When I told the organisers what I felt, they said , 'But we told you it is a roast!' I explained to them the common perception of roast and how it is different from bullying. That there is no humour in a joke about some one's physical attributes especially one that stems from deep prejudices.”

Chatterjee also touched upon the subject of caste, which, according to her, also plays a part in the mentality about skin colour. “Once I was asked “ Your surname is Chatterjee? Oh you are Brahmin.. What is your mother's surname? Maitra! Oh…. She is Brahmin too…” And then indirectly he hinted how my skin tone was dark… ? This is so deep rooted and linked to our perceptions of caste, class and skin tone.” 

The actress has been receiving overwhelming response from her followers on the said issue.