Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Changing Face

Legendary Charlie Chaplin sans his trademark- a mustache.

Peter Parker is dead. A new younger Spiderman is going to sling his web and fight crime. It is just not a new teenager climbing Manhattan buildings but Miles Morales is half-black, half-Hispanic American who saves the world after the death of Parker at the hands of the Green Goblin. Making Spiderman black is keeping with the new trend and times, it is said.

I smell either political tokenism or an attempt to reach out to wider audiences rather than starting a new trend. The only colors I can associate with Spider man are blue and red.

But hello? Isn’t the new trend about the fair and lovely man? Yes, the fairness obsession has transcended barriers and is haunting men. Back home Shahid and Shahrukh, are endorsing fairness creams for men. And whatever happened to the Mills and Boon ka tall dark and handsome hero? The machismo of M& B hero was directly proportional to the rugged features, a scar on the face and day old stubble.

The tall and dark has given way to fair and short brigade led by Ranbir and Imran who are ruling the roost. The thick bushy mustache too has given way to day old stubble. Not that I adore hirsute characters but why the notion that a face with mustache does not reflect the urban face of globalised India?

I guess, to each his own but I grew up watching Kamal Hassan with mustaches in” Ek Duje ke liye” and sans mustache I fail to connect with him. The joke goes that the earth did not revolve on its axis but on Rajnikant’s single strand of mustache. And wasn’t Rajni saar looking weird minus mustache in Robot? No wonder the earth shook after the release of Robot.
I remember when I was a teenager, several friends had huge crushes on Ravi Shastri and Anil Kumble. Okay do not screw your noses in disgust, Shastri used to be a dude once upon a time before ravages of time blew his hair and mustache away. Both sacrificed their mustaches perhaps to become a part of the international scene where cricketers and international sportsmen are mostly clean shaven.

Ha, ha…. I just imagined Obama and Beckham in a bushy mustache.

Have you noticed that none of the legendary super heroes have sported a mustache? Now that I rack my brains, not many Indian mythological heroes sported a mustache either. Beards yes but mustaches, no. However, the urban super heroes like Spiderman and Phantom are happy to use the razor daily. But the angry young ones who dare to defy the system and thrash the baddies do not shy away from a mustache a la Robin Hood.

Coming back to the fascination for white, it is sad that advertising professionals are forcing the fairness obsession on men, when the world is downgrading the ratings of most ‘fair economies’. We know that the malaise runs deep when a Namrata Randhawa aka Nikki Haley, the Indian American Governor of North Carolina lists herself as ‘white’ in her voter registration. Political convenience or colonial mindsets, you decide.

The scales however are slowly tilting towards yellows and browns. The whites have had their time under the sun. Time to unshackle the white obsession !



  2. its all about metrosexula men now! :D lols!

  3. Funnily in my whole life I have never thought of having a moustache

  4. Down south, a man's respectability is directly proportional to the length and fierceness of moustache. Think of Veerappan. Terrorized the police of three states by virtue of moustache...!

  5. The kind of skin Indians have is considered to be the best in Fashion world. To get skin like “us” people around the globe “tan”.
    India in unison whined about the racism attack on Indians in Australia; what about the racism in India? Colour discrimination. Such adds add sodium to the already burning fire and most important, screw those who take such ads. Fair and Lovely (for men), Garnier, blah..blah..and blah.

  6. Alka,

    IMO, Indian obsession with fair complexion will continue. I don't see that changing even though we have dark colored actresses. It is partly due to projection of our Gods except Krishna being fair colored.

    When whites talk about 'dark' they mean tanned...that dark is still several times lighter than brown we know :)))

    Movies is a different game. If a short person like Rani can become top actress, Katrina without being able to speak Hindi can rule bollywood....anything is possible.

  7. I sport a mustache, still. :) Because my Ma likes it this way, and I don't have much opinion on my mustache, I don't mind it being there.

    Regarding the post, I'd rather never shave so that my face is always covered with hair that no sunlight reaches the skin and catalyze melanin formation that causes darkness, rather than investing heavily on fairness creams that would be nothing but chemicals. Don't they see, the scalp is always extremely fair, until it is shaven off :P

    For the Indians registering them as Whites, let them bask in the sun, whether they get a tan or a burn shall determine their true color
    Blasphemous Aesthete

  8. Well said Alka. Your post reminded me of the famous dialogue 'Mooch nahin to kuch nahin', in Golmaal, I think :) I find Kamal Hasan ughh post moustache too. I guess advertisements have the power to change thinking of an entire generation and even nation vis-a-vis fairness. Maybe the new M&M hero is short, fair and clean shaven too. Have you checked? :D

  9. @Jon, Raam Pyari and Pesto Sauce..

    As urban men become beauty conscious its about My Fair Man.

    @harish...Chiranjeevi, Rajnikant, Upendra are all good examples.I cant imagine Upendra sans mousche.

  10. @Prateek..So far only women were haunted by this obsession but now that men are also being evaluated, they face the same music.

    @A...Rani, Bips and Priyanka are dusky and ruling. Tables have turned. Now its the turn of men to face the pressure to look fair and lovely.

  11. @Anshul...welcome back.My husband sports one too and I cannot imagine him without his mousche. It will be akin to blasphemy...ha ha

    @Zephyr...From what my son tells me a goatee and a stubble is on....not a moustache.

  12. Isn't it strange, we crave for something we don't have. The whites tan themselves for that golden skin. And the non whites smear themselves with cream to reduce the melanin content in the skin. And not just India.
    And about moustaches, I sometimes keep and sometimes I don't, sometimes stubble and sometimes a goatee. I have supported the Bhagat Singh one too for some time in college. Keep changing the look of my facial hair every fortnight. This is an advantage men have. We can change the look of our face anytime we want. :P

  13. The appearance of every person is the combined portrayal of everything that makes him or her. Anything which interferes with the original appearance of a person distorts the real self.

    Everyone has a unique identity. And generalising appearance on the basis of colour or the presence/absence of a moustache or beard would be a gross mistake. But people do tend to fall into that trap. :-)

  14. for me moustaches depends, I had them back in 12th but sacrificed them for the lady love :P

    Weakest LINK

  15. Forget moustache even chest hair is considered a crime. We are moving towards an androgynous generation where it will be tough to distinguish a woman from a man.

    And the write-up was worth the wait - cheeky and sharp, loved it.

  16. Alka, I agree with A's comment. The "dark" for whites is something like Aishwarya's or Kareena's complexion -- that tanned not our dark. And, our obsession, as deplorable as it is, with fair skin will not go away any time soon. It is bone deep and cultural. Even in movies, darker girls and darker men like Ajay Devgn are doing well. But, in movies they hardly look dark, especially girls with pancake and lighting they look just like the fair ones. The real celebration of our dark skin is when people will stop commenting about savla or kaala rang or stop looking for fair brides or the fairness creams will stop selling. As far as moustaches go, I personally prefer the clean-shaven look. But, there are some people whom the hirsute look suits like Shekhar Kapur, so I guess it is a matter of personal taste :).

  17. @Snow Leopard..Wow! i never realistic this advantage you guys have over women..yes, lucky you. We can only change hairstyles for a different look. Not many dare though.

    @Shobit...I was simply observing the change in trend and realized that that the mousche is gradually fading away in the North and metros. What u say is right.

  18. @Rachit....Matters of heart control the razor! Great.

    @Rachna..You are right. As it is women are under immense pressure to look good but now men too are feeling the same pressures.

    @Purba..How do they remove chest hair frequently...must be a nightmare.Men are feeling the same pressures, we women have been subjected to over the years.

  19. Men--modern men--have given up Mucchhi

  20. my daddy sports a mustache and he looks like a perfect man in this world :)
    I guess all depends and differs person to person but yeah advertisement n media do manipulating the minds of people.

  21. I don't like mustache and I can't fathom a girl who'd like it on a man but this is, of course, not the reason for my not liking it :P See, even our gods are clean shaven. :)

  22. lol
    nice post
    apni apni marzi hai
    remembered dialogue muche ho to nathuram jaisi

  23. the thing about moustache is not every 1 can carry it off, so people prefer to go the shaven look u missed anil kapoor

  24. @BKC...The urban trend is to shave it of...

    @Jyoti...My hubby sports a mousche and I cant imagine him without one...not in this janam.

    @Ajay.....To each his own, but the new look is either a stubble or a goatee or completely clean, well scrubbed. And girls....Even God does not know what they want.

  25. @Team G square...Yup, to each his own.

    @Maniac.hunter...yes, Godzilla himself is creating ripples in Hollywood with all his hair, but if you notice he has kept a goatee, a kind of french beard along with mousche.

  26. Mooche ho to Nathulal jaise ho….warna na ho...and then remember Utpal Dutta in Golmaal? Mooch mahi to kutch nahi :) i do not have a mustache though...

    these fairness creams are horrible...but intelligent branding to double the demand...

    great post!

  27. oho...i also had a crush on Ravi Shastri-i thought he was really hot:-)

    and the fairness obsession/black skin obsession is really silly!though i am not sure if i would find a black skinned spiderman just as cutely vulnerable as the previous Peter Parker!

  28. well... nothing specific about moustache.. but I like tall dark guys who are unsaved... lol..
    now-a-days the rush for fair and short guys are on fire.. but still... tall. dark and handsome is never out of the scene :)
    today I accidentally stopped by your blog... and I must admit that the time I spent over here was worth it :)
    hope to remain connected to you via bloggers...
    Happy Blogging..!!

  29. I have never understood the obsession for a fairer skin. Wasn’t it enough to create a chaos for the gentler sex, that it is making its way to the moustache-d (or not?) sex...:-/
    M&B heroes work for me!:D

  30. @SUB...I remember that famous dialogue... but times have changed.

    @Suru...Welcome back...hope aapne Goa ke paani mein aag laga di.

    @Madhulika...Thank you for stopping by dear.

    @Erratic Thoughts...M&B any day for romance but for marriage I doubt.Coming from experience dear.

  31. I really love the whole post and style ...Gone are the good oll days M&b and all Macho dark tall guy craze...But seriously ..india can never be gett off the white in US when somebody is fresh off the can easily make out ...they wud keep staring while if aliens on planets..
    I agree with A's comment very well answered!

  32. @Harman...Thanks. Yes, as for as gaping goes any colour is fine. I saw a group of boys ogling at an African lady in shorts in Gurgaon.

  33. I agree whole-heartedly with you about the new Spiderman, i.e., if you stiil have the have the heart to call him that. I am afraid Peter Parker will never die in the minds of our generation. You see, I am a racist. Man, how I love Vivien, Katherine, Brooks, Madonna, Kate, Cameron, Drew....

    As for Ms Namrata Randhawa, if the yankees have accepted her as a white, who are we to crib?

    I always hated Shastri in those days. But I cannot even start thinking about er.., who was it you said?

  34. Hi Alka,
    Inspiring and well written. It had quite a bit of twists and turns. I think India is standing on the path to superdom, if only our leaders listen to the universe. I have full faith that it is our time but we need to tell it often. Also we need to keep ourselves guarded

  35. Alka,

    OMG, Chalie Chaplin without mustache! What you say about new spiderman seems so politically correct. Advertisements do have impact on the impressionable minds and that is so evident.

    Take care