Nothing from India has found fame all over the world as much as Bollywood. From our actors making their place in Hollywood to fans from countries all over the world expressing their love for our native film industry, we have had it all. Could you then even imagine a fan being turned down or mistreated simply because of her skin colour and ethnicity? Fabienne Menoud’s open letter to Bollywood will jolt you into thinking of such a possibility.
A nurse from Haiti, Fabienne writes about how she was taken in by Bollywood right from the time she saw ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ and has not looked back since then. Not just Bollywood, the lady seems to be a huge fan of Indian culture. But well. let’s just say India and Bollywood haven’t quite reciprocated her love with equal fervour.
I am a girl from Haiti and have been a fan of Bollywood since I was 14 years old. I discovered Bollywood through my lessons at school and with the movie ‘Bend it like Beckham.’ I am now 26 and my passion for Bollywood has only increased with time.
If I decided to write an open letter today, it is to point out the challenges in being a Bollywood fan of another ethnicity.
I have at least 100 CDs of Indian movies, several Hindi learning books and some on Indian culture and travelling to India. I also convinced my mother to add three Indian channels in our TV box because of my love for Bollywood movies and Koffee with Karan.
However, I am sad to say that it is not easy for me to be a Bollywood fan. I had many bad experiences where people did not take my love for Bollywood seriously because of my ethnicity and colour.
What she writes after this only goes on to show how hurt she has been by the treatment meted out to her by Bollywood and it’s applause-worthy to see that Fabienne is still defending her right to be passionate about India and about Bollywood.
During the media interviews at IIFA, each celeb was in a room where media could interview them for a few moments. Imagine my shock when the bodyguard let everyone enter except me. People behaved strangely all through the event. They would look at me, laugh at me and some kid even tried to kick me.
My friend and I were the only two black people there and we felt terrible being left out like that.
When I went to watch ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ recently, people were staring at me like I was an animal!
See, there are no rules about who should love what! My passion is India, I love listening to Bollywood songs. I love Deepika Padukone and have a t-shirt of her. I love Indian food, I’m learning Hindi and I’m black, Haitian and proud!
This is not Fabienne’s only post about Bollywood. This black fan has posted in great excitement after having met Bollywood stars and interacting with them. She also makes a mention of how Deepika Padukone is her favourite and she owns a t-shirt with the actor’s photo on it.
One look at the lady’s Facebook profile and one cannot miss how Bollywood is written all over it.
People of colour have often been discriminated against and it’s sad to see Bollywood joining such a sad bandwagon. After all, can one’s ethnicity really decide one’s choices? And just how can we as a nation and a film industry reject such heartfelt love coming from thousands of miles away? Here’s hoping Fabienne’s brave and thought provoking open letter provokes us enough to think into what she has been meted out and maybe even do what we can to change it.