Actress Tannishtha Chatterjee has slammed a TV comedy show, to which she was invited, for making fun of her skin colour in the name of roast.
As a part of the promotions of her recently released film “Parched”, Tannishtha along with director Leena Yadav and co-star Radhika Apte went to show “Comedy Nights Bachao”.
The actress, in a lengthy Facebook post, wrote about her frustration with the way her dark skin tone was made fun of.
“Something shocked me out of my wits yesterday. I was invited as a guest to a popular comedy show called comedy night bachao to promote my latest release Parched with my director Leena yadav and my co-actor Radhika Apte.”
Tannishtha said when she was told she would be the subject of a roast, the actress thought it would be on the lines of US TV shows like “Saturday Night Live” and was actually looking forward to it.
“Then this show began. And this was an entirely novel understanding of roast that equates itself with bullying. 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,” she wrote.
The 35-year-old actress said she initially tried to go along with the show but could not tolerate the “offensive” jokes after a point.
“I could not believe I was sitting in a nationally televised comedy show in 2016 in Mumbai amid such regressive (I can’t call it humour), and blatantly racist content. Though I was feeling suffocated, I decided to give it another chance, and sat through another equally offensive segment.
“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 bully. That there is no humor value in a joke about some ones physical attributes especially one that stems from deep prejudices.”
Tannishtha said many of her friends told her not to take the jokes seriously but she argued that something which comes from deep-rooted biases and a hangover of white skin should not be made fun of.
Tannishtha said while she had nothing personal against the show, she felt that making fun of skin tone is not roast, in a country where people don’t get jobs because of their complexion, where every matrimonial advert demands a fair bride or groom and the colour bias is so strong, and rooted in the caste system.
“Even considering that dark skin is a joke comes from that very deep prejudice. I tried to explain why this is not personal and it is a larger issue about what our mindset is and why cracking jokes about deep biases in our society is irresponsible.”