Akshay Kumar’s Saugandh co-star Shanthipriya has opened up about the racism she faced in the 90s in an interview to NBT.com. The former actress recalled how she was often on the receiving end because her makeup would not match her co-star's and shooting would have to be stopped. Shanthipriya added that her sister Bhanupriya quit films because the industry did not accept her for her skin tone.
She revealed, "Today, I am proud of myself but earlier I used to be humiliated in front of the entire crew. I was told that my makeup would not match with the hero and both of us looked different. Then the entire process would be redone. It was very embarrassing. Every day before going to shoot I would get scared as to how people would react to seeing me. There also came a time when I used to spend more time hiding my skin colour rather than improvising on the script or other things."
She also said that Akshay made fun of her skin tone. She said, "My role in the film Ikke Pe Ikka was of a modern girl and the script demanded that I had to wear a short dress. I used to wear skin-coloured stockings and once while shooting, Akshay joked about my knees looking darker than usual. He repeatedly said that there were blood clots in my knees and all the actors and other members of the crew had a good laugh."
She added, "Akshay is my good friend and I am not complaining here, but I definitely want to tell you that people have to understand how a joke made about someone's colour can hurt him/her.”
Apart from Saugandh, Shanthipriya also starred in several Hindi, Telugu and Tamil films. Phool Aur Angaar, Veerta, Meherbaan, Ikke Pe Ikka were some of Shanthipriya's Hindi films.
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