Throwback to when an angry Kareena Kapoor had called Bipasha Basu a 'Kali Billi', allegedly

With everyone is voicing out their opinions to work toward a world where people will be not targeted for the colour of their skin, one of the biggest stars of Bollywood, Kareena Kapoor Khan, took to Instagram to share this post.

While we can’t deny the urgency in the message, it does catapult us to different kinds of days. There were no social media back then, and celebs weren’t particularly image-conscious. Fans admired or panned them for their performance on screen, and were not much bothered about how they conducted themselves in real life. We were talking about the early 2000s, when Kareena Kapoor had just entered the industry with J. P Dutta’s Refugee, along with fellow star-kid, Abhishek Bachchan. Though the film failed to impress audiences, stardom had already been handed to Kareena in the industry where she had the privilege of hailing from the ‘First family’.

She secured a few quick films, and one among them was Abbas-Mastan’s Ajnabee (2001), featuring Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol, and a newcomer, an outsider to the industry, Bipasha Basu. Ego clashes, backbiting, or catfights between actresses is nothing new in this industry of shifting loyalties, and even before the movie released, rumours of a rising rift between the two leading ladies had already started making headlines.

Screengrab from "Ajnabee"

That they couldn’t see eye-to-eye was established, but the major showdown transpired when Kareena’s designer, Vikram Phadnis, went to assist Bipasha with her wardrobe, ahead of sorting Kareena out. Industry insiders report, the actresses had exchanged quite a few heated words.

Things escalated a little too fast and ended with Kareena, allegedly, raising her hand on Bipasha while also calling her ‘kaali billi’ with a clear and rude insinuation to her darker complexion.

No one can deny that the Kapoor-girl is blessed with a flawless peaches-n-cream complexion; beauty runs in the Kapoor family as well. But demeaning the opponent for her skin color wasn’t acceptable. Good that after two decades, wisdom has finally dawned upon her.

India is a pan-racial country, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, we are people of different skin shade and features differing as per genes and geographical influence. The concept of race, however, doesn’t fit in, in our movies. As an industry, Bollywood has always been generous toward people of all skin colors from its inception. Our paragon of beauty, Rekha and the dream girl of Bollywood, Hema Malini are of darker complexion. We have been floored by the beauty of Helen equally, and Tom Alter was revered by us also.

Despite the graciousness with which it has accommodated all kinds of actors, there are sundry tales of discrimination that take us back by several steps. Through a 2017 tweet, ace actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui made hints as colour discrimination made against him.

In return, he was flooded with motivating and encouraging responses from his 2-million-strong fan base. During her modeling days, Slumdog Millionaire actress Freida Pinto found herself at the receiving end of uncharitable remarks on her complexion and looks, but eventually, it all fell into place for her.


It would be wrong to claim that the industry is fair-skin obsessed, given dusky beauties like Kajol, Rani Mukherji, and Priyanka Chopra have scaled glorious heights of stardom, while many light-skinned actresses were rejected for the want of talent.

It would be an even better place if they stopped promoting fairness creams, forcing lyrics like “gore-gore gaal” while musing on the actress of evidently wheatish complexion and hiding her natural glow behind layers of foundations several tones lighter.