Spice Stellar 506, the “new smart phone from Spice Mobile" may be smart but the advertisement that claims this status is certainly not. A recent addition to the Spice Milaye Sapnon Se (Let Dreams Come True) series that aims to empower small town dreamers through their smart phones by making an example of the life and times of its brand ambassador Nawazuddin Siddiqui shows a suspiciously lighter (than usual) skinned Siddiqui. See

Whether it is the poorly planned outdoor set lighting endowing a funny pallor to Siddiqui’s naturally dark skin, badly matched facial powder and concealer and clumsy makeup or a deliberate attempt to ever so slightly whitewash Siddiqui’s skin to make him a suitable hero for a “universal" dream of success isn’t clear. What is obvious is that it makes the dark and angsty Siddiqui look as if he has a wax-like polish on his face.

Siddiqui in ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’.

He also works alongside and competes with beautiful and stylized boys like Ranbir Kapoor, Imran Khan or Hrithik Roshan but continues to reject assisted vanity. And is that one actor who went to Cannes in 2013 and wore the exact same jacket on the red carpet that he had worn the previous year. “Maine socha Kaala hai, chal jayega," he told a prominent film critic at Cannes summing up the worth of his suit at a glamour event that’s eyed by everyone across the globe.

Whoever has seen him in real life and noticed the colour of his skin or understood the irony (and ivory) of Kaala rey, saiyan kaala re, the song from Gangs of Wasseypur 2 that heaved with dark metaphors of life, work, body, wont and wonder would know that for Siddiqui, being dark is both armour and weapon.

This fortnightly series is a comment on popular culture statements made through actions or words. Shefalee Vasudev is the author of Powder Room: The Untold Story of Indian Fashion.

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