Longtime Mutineer Desi Dude in Austin left a tip on our news tab, which immediately got my attention:
Rajnikath don’t need no Fair and Lovely…not when he has 25 CGI artists lighten his complexion frame-by-frame for a song-and-dance sequence in his latest sambaar-mix potboiler Sivaji.
Say what?! I neither know nor care about either Sivaji the fillum or its rotund ishtar, but following the link DDiA left took me here:
If you have watched Sivaji..You have observed the fair complexion of Rajinikanth in the song Oru koodai Sunlight.Everyone thought it was make-up that made Superstar Rajinikanth look like a European in that song, but the secret is something else. [Naachgaana]
The secret of actor Rajinikanthâ€™s â€˜whiteâ€™ tan in the song sequence â€œStyleâ€ in the â€˜Sivajiâ€™ was not the result of any fairness cream or cosmetic touch-up but an entire year of Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) work by city-based firm Indian Arts.
The colour tone of one of the U.K.-based dancers in the background of the song was used to turn up the tone of the actor, frame by frame. The post-production for the 6,000 plus frames took a year to complete, as computer graphics artists from Indian Arts toiled to make Rajinikanth the â€œVellai Tamizhanâ€. [The Hindu]
According to the article from our new tab, a total of 6,700 frames were painstakingly altered, to give the second-highest paid actor in Asia skin as pale as the complexion of one of his Gori backup dancers. Okay, that sentence was awkward as kundi. I’ll just quote something, instead, yes?
Once Indian Artist was selected for the job, Mr. Anand immediately knew that the CGI team would require a â€˜referenceâ€™ for their work. So the team selected one of the dancers flown in from London for the song on location in Spain. So every shot that featured Rajinikanth was re-shot with the dancer and sent to Indian Arts. Mr. Anand explained that it was required because the skin tone would appear differently in indoor and outdoor shots, and a lot would depend on shadows. [The Hindu]
Apparently, this was the director’s way of “thinking big”:
Mr. Anand pointed out that it was one of the original concepts of director Shankar, who is known for his grand ways of shooting songs. â€œHe was thinking about the way people admire Rajinikanthâ€™s dark tan and wanted to show how the superstar would look had he been a European.â€[The Hindu]
I know that colorism is a hotly-debated issue both on this site and within our community, so I promise that I am extra careful whenever I make statements about what I think is attractive and isn’t, especially after being on the receiving end of some unbelievably hurtful bullshit myself (another time, another post).
People on either end of the spectrum get nastiness hurled their way, so let’s declare decisively that this is not the special olympics of victim hood. I have uber-pasty, 100% Desi friends who get asked “And when or why did someone like you get interested in Indian culture?”, as if they were a White person, when they go to brown events. They feel just as miserable as I do when I’m told, “For a very dark girl, you’re pretty!”. This is sensitive territory and I hope that if lurking/commenting on or hating this blog inspires anything within you, it’s a sensitivity towards the colorS of our skin.
Whew, that was a lot of “fine-print”. But wait– here’s more! What I’m about to state has nothing to do with either my own relatively dark, izhnerum skin OR my uncontrollable affection for hot-hot-hot chocolaty actor Sunkrish Bala, it’s from a pure place in my dil, I assure you– I think Rajnikant looks better dark, no diggity, y’all. Not that I find him attractive at any shade, but if he ever reads this post, and he asks me…
sivappaana aangal ingae silakoadi undu
karuppaana ennaik kandu kan vaiththadhenna
I will truthfully trill back, in my most high-pitched attempt at breaking the eardrums of small canines,
kadal vannam vaanin vannam karuvannam dhaanae
kadal vaanam kaanumboadhu unaikkandaen naanae
For those who don’t know Tamizzhrrzh:
There are a few crore fair skinned men here
Why did you pick me – a dark skinned man
The sea, The Sky, they are all dark
when I see the sky and the sea, I am reminded of you