One can strike that last bit off and make it handsome! That’s the new tagline Indian men want to swear by: fair is only handsome (And that’s how the drivers of the fairness market in India would want to keep it to mint millions). A certain Milind Soman might have emerged out of a magical casket in all his dusky glory, absolutely ‘Made in India’, to sweep ladies off their feet. But that was like two decades back when Alisha Chinai reinstated the sexiness of the dusky skin tone when it came to the men, at least, with her popular indie album. Also Read - Hrithik Roshan-Deepika Padukone Become 'Fighter' For Siddharth Anand, Film Releases on Sept 30, 2022

Times have changed since, guys! (Whatever happened to the famous saying ‘Tall, dark and handsome’ which doesn’t hold true in this age and day where Justin Beiber scores far better on popularity charts than Will Smith or Beyonce!/?) Also Read - Hrithik Roshan-Deepika Padukone in Siddharth Anand's Action Film - Big Announcement Today!

“Oh freak! He looks so dark ,therefore ugly and so vulnerable!” shrieked a young lady from the next cubicle at my workplace on witnessing Hrithik Roshan’s dusky avatar from his forthcoming venture Mohenjo Daro, clearly failing to understand that’s how his character, from the film based on the ancient Indian civilisation, is expected to look, perhaps. Why our very own Greek God has to be his usual dapper (read: dipped in pristine whiteness) all the time, even in his movies? He can afford to be desi, if not delicious, for a change! ALSO READ: Mohenjo Daro passed with U/A certificate: Is CBFC partial towards Hrithik Roshan starrer? Also Read - 'Rye' Hrithik Roshan Receives Best Birthday Message From ex-wife Sussanne Khan

Wasn’t Aamir Khan’s character, Bhuvan from the Oscar Nominated Lagaan, at least five shades darker than the superstar’s original skin tone? Wasn’t Farhan Akhtar rugged, sturdy and bharpoor desi (and therefore rooted and real) in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag? ALSO READ: Mohenjo Daro song Tu Hai: Hrithik Roshan and Pooja Hegde look like Aladdin and Cleopatra respectively!

Just because the Shah Rukh Khans, the Varun Dhawans and the John Abrahams of the industry are busy selling ‘fair is only handsome’ dogma, that doesn’t mean that every ‘hero’ has to look like a slab of marble (the way SRK did look in Rohit Shetty’s Dilwale)!

And don’t even get us started on how gals have been bearing the onus of being objectified and judged, as beautiful or unsightly, based on the colour of their skin ( or their body type, but we will save that debate for some other time). A quick look at the matrimonial columns from the newspapers clearly indicates the dire need of a gori chitti bahu. And now the gaze has been shifted to the grooms being sought. FAIR enough!?

And yet Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil remained as sough-after and as desirable, if not more, as their contemporaries. Bipasha Basu, Chitrangda Singh, Tabu and Lisa Haydon continue to find their rightful places in our fantasies with their etherealness. The thinking man’s Sex Symbol (Ooops! could not help but employ this term to drive home the point) Nandita Das told me an interview how shocked she was when she was posed the dreadful ‘how-could-you-be-so-confident-in-spite-of-being-dark’ question by a teenager when the actress was speaking as a guest speaker at Mumbai’s premier education institute.

The times have changed, but we are not sure if we have evolved to celebrate the beauty of diversity. The fixation for ‘fair and lovely’ continues…and now even The Greek God of B-town is not spared!