The South Indian film industries are all about macho heroes and their powerful performances on the silver-screen. 

 

From Rajinikanth to Kamal Hassan in the Tamil film industry, Mohanlal to Mammootty in Malayalam cinemas, Chiranjeevi to Nagarjuna from Telugu and Sudeep to Shiva Rajkumar in Kannada movies all are loved by masses, and some are even worshipped by their fans. 

 

 

When comes to heroines, there are many actresses with brilliant performances under their belt working in these industries. But the common thing for the last 10 to 15 years is that the female leads are often North Indians. From Kajal Aggarwal to Tamannaah to Rakul Preet Singh to Taapsee Pannu, all are not native to South India.

 

The reason behind casting non-South Indian actress as the lead in the movies is directly related to India's fixation with fairness and the 'hourglass' figure.


Leaving aside a few of female-centric films, most of the time female characters in Southern movies barely have any role to play. They just have to look good and be the hero's love interest. And looking pretty in India is synonymous with being fair. 

 

 

This fixation can be seen from the fact that trashy item songs with Bollywood actresses are unnecessarily added to many movies, including movies that are blockbusters, earning massive revenues.

 

And while masala has its place in Indian cinema, the question must be asked - how convincingly can someone convey emotions for a language they cannot speak, in a culture that is foreign to them? Hard-hitting stories, which explore the on ground realities of a south Indian experience, can rarely be emoted by someone whose is neither given such a role, nor expected to do anything other than look pretty. 

 

Meanwhile, local actresses, who are perhaps more alike, physically and mentally, to the audience watching the films, are often overlooked - or given small, 'artsy' roles. It is as if in South India, they do not want to accept what they really look like, and hence do mind endlessly dubbed scenes. 

 

While the debate about the kinds of roles written for women in most Southern films, basically damsels in distress before being accepting lovers, is a larger one, perhaps the first step in the right direction to simply cast local women, so that they may at least get a decent break. 

 

Why can't they get a 'fair' chance?