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Shades of Prejudice: Bollywood celebrities add weight to skin colour debate

Actress Tannishtha Chatterjee's outrage upon facing a "racist attack" on a nationally televised comedy show has led several celebrities in Bollywood to condemn the idea of humor surrounding skin color --a prejudice deeply rooted in the society

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Tannishtha Chatterjee. Wikimedia
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Mumbai, September 29, 2016: Actress Tannishtha Chatterjee’s outrage upon facing a “racist attack” on a nationally televised comedy show has led several celebrities in Bollywood to condemn the idea of humor surrounding skin color –a prejudice deeply rooted in the society.
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Clearly, Tannishtha was not amused with the ‘roast’ that she went for on “Comedy Nights Bachao”, and she wrote a Facebook post to vent her anger after experiencing that the only thing the hosts could ‘roast’ about a dark-skinned actress was “of course her dark skin”.
 Her post went viral on social media, leading to a debate on the limit to humor.
Upset about Tannishtha’s experience, filmmaker and social activist Ashoke Pandit called the show “sexist”.
“Why comment on Tannishtha’s skin color? Never heard ‘roast’ masters commenting on skin color of male superstars! Sexist. Roast Vs Racism,” Pandit tweeted on Wednesday, adding that he doesn’t find vulgarity funny.
“Today I’m vindicated that India feels offended when a woman is humiliated in the name of roast and humor. Vulgarity isn’t funny! Roast Vs Racism,” added Pandit, who is also a member of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
He recounted the All India Bakchod (AIB) Knockout Roast of January 2015 which involved leading Bollywood celebrities and was widely slammed for its offensive and explicit content.
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“That was the beginning of offensive humor, now deal with it,” he said and added: “Anyone who had supported AIB would be fine with racist comments on a woman. I’m sure the actresses laughing at the roast don’t find this racist.”
Actress Pooja Bedi joined in the debate, saying her skin color is her pride.
“If someone took off about my skin color, I’d say I love my color and I put sun-tan (not sunblock) and lie in the sun! Pride for me, prejudice for you. All extremes are brunt of jokes. Tall/short dark/fair virgin/prostitute. Remember Bachchan song ‘Jiski biwi gori/lambi’ etc? Roast Vs Racism,” Pooja tweeted.
Actress Lisa Ray said: “Even considering that dark skin is a joke comes from very deep prejudice.”
Swara Bhaskar, who is known for being vocal about her views on social issues in the country, hailed Tannishtha’s bravado in speaking up about the issue.
“Good on you Tanishtha Chatterjee! Big love, big hug and high five! You go girl,” Swara tweeted. Even her “Angry Indian Goddesses” co-star Sandhya Mridul said: “She’s a tiger! Go get them all Tan.”
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Tannishtha was a guest on “Comedy Nights Bachao” to promote her latest film “Parched” with director Leena Yadav and co-actor Radhika Apte. Tannishtha is said to have stormed out of the sets mid-shoot due to the “blatantly racist attack”, wherein she was asked ‘Aap ko jamun bahut pasand hoga zaroor…?'”
After her post went viral, Colors issued an apology to her for “any hurt that was unwittingly caused”. (IANS)
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  • Aakash Mandyal

    Shows like AIB knockout is the example of Indian society turning in to western, how much we people are facinate with western world that we have forgotten essence of our culture. These shows are with no meaning. It doesn’t make any sense to support this kind of shows.

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393