updated 1 Jan 2011, 16:29
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Tue, Dec 28, 2010
The New Paper
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Did magazine 'whiten' Aishwarya?

A HEATED debate arose when a fashion magazine was said to have lightened Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's skin tone on its cover.

Now another debate is brewing on whether she is going to sue the magazine. Aishwarya is said to be furious with the significantly lightened skin tone in this month's Elle magazine, reported Times of India.

A source told the newspaper: "Aishwarya's first reaction was disbelief.

"She believed that these things don't happen anymore. Not in this day and age when women are recognised for their merit, and not for the colour of their skin. She is currently verifying this skin-whitening allegation. If there is any proof of this, she might even take action."

Some India media have taken this statement to mean that the actress plans to take legal action against the magazine, with some papers reporting that she was filing a lawsuit against the magazine.

Indian entertainment website published a statement yesterday from Aishwarya's spokesman from Imagesmiths.

The spokesman said statements attributed to Aishwarya in a Mumbai Mirror article, "Ash might sue for 'whiteface'", were false.

"The statement made therein by the author is self created and bears no representation to our client or the Bachchan family."


"Our client Aishwarya Rai Bachchan or the Bachchan family is not in any form of communication with the tabloid Mumbai Mirror and as such the story is an attempt to use their names to make news and a sensational article.

"We regret the same as such fictitious articles lead to rumour-mongering."

Meanwhile, Aishwarya's fans are reacting angrily at the alleged digital "bleaching" of her skin tone on this month's Indian edition of the magazine.

The 37-year-old actress, a former Miss World who has starred in Bride & Prejudice and The Pink Panther 2, appears on the cover with her skin appearing to be several shades lighter than her normal colour, reported Britain's Daily Mail.

Inside the magazine, she is again pictured in a series of shots, all showing her with pale skin. Fans have been posting angry comments online about the latest cover, with one saying: 'It's annoying because it seems like lighter skin is always in fashion as if darker skin is something to be frowned upon.'

Skin-lightening is a controversial issue in India and those with a lighter complexion are often perceived to be more successful and wealthy. Skin-lightening products aimed at young men and women now form a multi-million-dollar industry.

When asked, the magazine claimed that it had not whitened the Academy Award-nominated actress' skin any more than those of the other models (white) clicked along with her. A close friend of Aishwarya said: "No one in any part of the world look at Ash with culture-specific eyes.

" Though she has represented India on many international forums, she is regarded as a world citizen. She is clearly the global face of the contemporary Indian woman.

"The last thing she'd want is to have a global image coloured by a racial suggestion." Last month Aishwarya earned the ire of Mumbai doctors when she was shown smoking on posters promoting a new movie Guzaarish.


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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