IPL breaks Bollywood's obsession with fair skin

By Fakir Hassen

Johannesburg, April 25 (IANS) Just as the Indian Premier League (IPL) was getting South Africans worried about Bollywood's obsession with the fair-skinned actresses, two dusky beauties were chosen at Cape Town and Durban games over the past few days to participate in the Miss Bollywood contest.

Neresha Chetty of Durban was selected to represent the Chennai Super Kings in the search for Miss Bollywood SA from the crowd attending the IPL match between the Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Daredevils, at Sahara Kingsmead on Thursday.

A day earlier Carla Dennis was picked from the crowd in Cape Town during the match between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Rajasthan Royals held at Sahara Park Newlands in Cape Town, South Africa.

The IPL is choosing a winner at each game who will go through to the finals round to choose a single Miss Bollywood SA who will win 50,000 rands and a trip to India as the guest of Shah Rukh Khan to star in a movie with him.

Written off by some as a publicity stunt by the IPL, the competition appears to have angered some would-be Bollywood stars.

"Who and how are the winners decided? By a cameraman who could be choosing someone he knows?" a disgruntled Shazia Karim of Cape Town told IANS. Karim said she had been trying to land a local movie role unsuccessfully for three years now, despite formal training in film studies.

"It looks like 'light is right', just like it's always been in Bollywood.

"I went to every game in Cape Town so far in an attempt to get spotted, but all they showed on the screen were light-skinned Indian and white girls all the time. Maybe I should head to Chennai for a role there," Karim quipped.

There was also some concern about why there had been no indigenous African winners so far, although organisers at the stadiums were quick to point out that young African women attending cricket games were few and far between.

IPL organisers did not react to a question about this from IANS.

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