Long time no publish, but that is due to change soon. Below is an article that will re-appear in the special section on racism in India. Fascinating look at racism and discrimination in bolywood, which of course begs the question: if actresses from India were treated the same way in the UK, what would be the outcome?
Original article can be found here
White British actresses told to leave Bollywood
British actresses who appear in Bollywood films are being targeted in a hate campaign by one of India's most feared political leaders.
By Dean Nelson in New Delhi
Published: 5:55PM GMT 17 Mar 2010
Stars including Alice Patten, the daughter of Lord Patten of Barnes, and Hazel Crowney, a former model from Kent, have been accused of stealing jobs from local girls.
Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), a Mumbai nationalist street gang and political party which inspires terror throughout the city, has called on foreign white actresses to go home.
His campaign for a ban on the estimated 1,000 British and other foreign actors who regularly appear in Bollywood films has been widely criticised but many foreign actors are too afraid to speak out.
Thackeray is especially feared in Bollywood, where he has the power to shut productions and close cinemas.The campaign for a ban comes as increasing numbers of European and South American actresses are finding roles in Bollywood movies.
In the last few years, Kylie Minogue and Denise Richards have appeared in major Indian films. Miss Patten starred in Rang De Basanti, one of the most popular Bollywood films of recent years, while Minogue appeared in a raunchy song and dance scene called Chiggy Wiggy in the film Blue with action hero Akshay Kumar.
It has also become increasingly common for Hollywood stars like Sylvester Stallone and Superman star Brandon Routh to take cameo roles in Bollywood productions to boost their appeal. This international approach could now be threatened because producers and directors fear Raj Thackeray will ruin their films if they do not comply.
The campaign to ban foreign actors was launched last week after the MNS raided a the set of Crooked, starring Amitabh Bachchan, India's most famous star, and demanded to see the work permits of 136 foreign actors and actresses. The MNS holds seats in the Mumbai region but its strength comes from its activists who are regarded by many as violent street thugs.
Its supporters have launched violent attacks on rickshaw drivers from other parts of India and threatened organisations which retain the name 'Bombay' instead of 'Mumbai.' Shalini Thackeray, an MNS leader, said: "Why can't our Indian actors dance with locals? We will insist that only local junior artists should be employed.
"We will check whether they have valid permits. Many times, foreigners come here on tourist visas, but take up work in Bollywood."
She was supported by one of Bollywood's top dancers, Rakhi Sawant, who said: "Because of these foreigners, our Indian girls remain jobless. These white girls are like lollipops that only last for two days." Vir Singhvi, one of India's leading commentators, said the party was using the issue to win over Mumbai's women voters who have so far shunned the MNS.
"The MNS says [these dance scenes] are against Indian traditions, vulgar and cheap. They do this to get women's votes because women object to half-naked dancers, but it's not enough of an issue for women to change their minds," he said.
Leading Indian film director Jag Mundra last night criticised the campaign and said it could push up costs and force film-makers to shoot more scenes overseas. To save money, directors usually hire attractive backpackers passing through Mumbai and shoot dance scenes in local clubs or film sets.
"The reason producers pick white girls is because a lot of them have better figures and are willing to expose them," he said.
"If you need a bikini shot, not many Indian girls are willing to turn up in a string bikini. But most white girls will not have an issue with that. Titillation has been an important part of Bollywood."