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Dark Face in 2021 and Parizaad

While the world has moved forward from the days of using black face in place of actual Black representation, we see Pakistan regress back to this practice in the drama Parizaad that aired in 2021. Not only is this an outright disrespect, we see that this is done purposefully to create a character that can be deemed as not being handsome due to his darker complexion. The character Parizaad is portrayed in a light where despite the goodness of his character he is dismissed by multiple females not on the basis of anything substantial rather it is implicitly implied that it is due to his darker complexion. While the story may serve the purpose of holding a mirror to society to remind them of the standards they hold when it comes to skin color, it is a pity that in a country rife with talent, the industry saw fit to cast a fairer actor and dark face them to serve the purpose instead of finding someone who fulfilled the criteria and giving a chance to new faces of differing complexions. This drama sets the precedent for other channels to do the same with characters they want to portray in a different light. This show really does create an impression that prevalent society still believes in regressive ideologies and are unwilling to have discourse to challenge these ideologies especially when it comes to the entertainment industry.

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kashaf noor
kashaf noor
Dec 09, 2022

I completely agree with the post. The worst part is that this show was widely acclaimed for the representation of people with darker complexion, and still the show only revolved around showing how the main leads complexion led him to face many obstacles in life, the biggest one of them all being his insecurity of not being fairer. The drama's purpose was to normalize the darker complexion in the Pakistani Industry and to promote the concept of looking beyond a person's physical appearance, but it only reinforced the idea of a darker complexion not being socially acceptable and considered to be handsome.


As a kid, the biggest insecurity that I had was having a darker complexion and I remember forcing…


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While the Parizaad actor’s brownface does not carry the same shock value of typical blackface, which constitutes highly exaggerated features for comical value, it is nonetheless equally harmful. Originating in America’s deeply racist past, blackface was the practice of darkening the skin with shoe polish and exaggerating the lips to portray a caricature of the African individual. While blackface may be an American import, it found fertile ground to grow in and thrive in South Asia. India and Pakistan are divided by borders yet united in their prejudice against dark skin.

Bollywood also continues this tradition; with Alia Bhatt in Udta Punjab or Ranveer Singh in Gully Boy, the socio-economic link with dark skin is not lost on the viewer…


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Mujeeb.khan
Mujeeb.khan
Dec 05, 2022

The drama, being one of the blockbusters, was widely praised by the Pakistani audience, although they were unaware of the negative aspects of it. This might be the cause of the lack of understanding; such serious matters are typically avoided by our audience. After considering the notions of gender, media, and education, I concluded that we are still living in the colonial age, when skin color was considered one's identity. Parizaad is shown as a failure in life, with ambitions but little achievement. He hailed from a poor family, which is one of the reasons behind the prtrayal of his dark skin. Why is it that persons with dark skin are usually associated with poverty and rejection? This colonial mindset…

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Yes I totally agree. The colonial ideologies left behind by British Imperialism is prevalent to this day and one of the most widely used and accepted concept is the inferiority of darker skin which is completely baseless. But there is something to be said about our community that readily encapsulate such ideology without any critical thought about it. To do this day complexion is a common concept that is brought up especially for women looking for partners. I also agree with how any darker representation is always connected to those of a lower status and never with success and power. Just think to any other movies or dramas in Pakistan and one can easily tell that darker representation is scant…

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The drama received quite appreciation but when I looked at it from a gender media student’s perspective , there were so many unnoticed aspects of Parizaad. Why could the directors not show Parizaad making his way up by all the hardwork or his skills but instead he got all that property from Behroz Karim. Even though such dramas appear to be more inclusive and reflect society but they reinforce certain stereotypes. For instance, Parizaad only made his way up due to his luck and honesty but not due to his skills. He was an excelled poet but he only became successful because Behroz left him with all that property as he died. Apparently , that's how a dark skin toned…

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Myra Shahab
Myra Shahab
Nov 30, 2022

I feel this is an example in the larger debate of casting actors and models in roles that align with their natural features. Production teams cast big names to ensure their productions are hits, even if the talent does not suit the image they want. In the case of Parizaad, a substantial amount of the success of the series can be attributed to Ahmed Ali Akber's fantastic acting. His talent is not in question here, but such a decision to 'fake' a dark face, in a current day production after the Black Lives Matter movement in the West, that has also had a significant impact in the subcontinental context (example of 'Fair & Lovely' becoming 'Glow & Lovely'), is extremely…

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