When we think of fine actors, Tillotama Shome definitely comes to mind. Whether it’s her performance in Monsoon Wedding, Boond, Qissa or Sir, she’s always come through with a quality screen presence. 


The actor has never shied away from speaking up about corrosive beauty standards and societal norms that need to be remedied. And so, when she recently talked about colourism in an interview with a magazine, we couldn’t help but discuss it. Shome spoke about an instance where a director tried to darken her skin further to make her look ‘poorer’ for a Hollywood film. Yep. Doesn’t hearing that make you cringe?

I am grateful that the ‘Fair & Lovely’ obsession never entered our household. My parents were truly progressive, without even knowing it. After my debut in Monsoon Wedding, I became resentful of every offer that wanted me to play a maid. I did an American film in which the director tried to darken our skin further as we were looking ‘too beautiful to be poor.’

-TIllotama told Cosmopolitan India

It’s definitely the classification and stereotyping of what poor people look like, that has us muttering ‘what in the world?’ under our breaths. Though sadly, much of the world does still associate skin colour with socio-economic status. And by calling out these words by her director, Tillotama has definitely pushed us all to think about why we still have such ideologies. 

Shome also went ahead and defined beauty in the best way possible. She reminded us that beauty has less to do with physical appearance, and more to do with the spirit of a person. 

We glorify the beauty of simplicity with annoying trends like ‘no make-up look.’ When in reality, beauty is a mood. It is a gesture, a certain confidence, a certain abandon, the tilt of the neck, a full-throated laughter!

-TIllotama told Cosmopolitan India

We need more women speaking their minds just like this.