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‘It’s Going to Take a Long, Long Time.’ How the Uproar Over a Bollywood Lyric About Beyoncé Fits Into the Fight Against Colorism in India



The upcoming Bollywood rom-com Khaali Peeli, starring actors Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday, isn’t set to be released until Oct. 2, but one of the musical’s songs is already famous—for all the wrong reasons.

After an outcry on social media over a song lyric perceived to rely on colorism—prejudice or discrimination against people with darker skin tones—the filmmakers announced that they will be changing the song slightly. The lyric in question, which roughly translated to “by merely looking at you, oh fair lady, Beyoncé will feel shy,” will be replaced with “the world will be shy after seeing you” dropping the “fair lady” and Beyoncé mentions.

“We have made the film to entertain audiences and not to offend or hurt anyone,” Maqbool Khan, the director, said. “Since our lyrical arrangement did not go well with few people, we thought why not keeping the essence the same while changing the song a little bit.”

Additionally, the song’s title has been changed from “Beyoncé Sharma Jayegi” to “Duniya Sharma Jaayegi” (meaning “the world will feel shy,” instead of “Beyoncé will feel shy”). Earlier, the song title was simply tweaked to “Beyonse Sharma Jayegi,” changing the spelling of Beyoncé’s name for legal reasons. But though the original lyric used the Hindi word goriya, which translates to “fair or light-skinned lady,” the filmmakers and lyricist have said that it was not meant to be taken literally. “The term ‘goriya’ has been so often and traditionally used in Indian songs to address a girl,” said Khan, “that it didn’t occur to any of us to interpret it in the literal manner.”

Though his stated intention did not match the lyrics’ reception, Khan’s statement does get at a deeper truth: the idea of a “fair lady” being a stand-in for a beautiful woman dates back centuries in South Asian culture, as it does in many others. But just in the last year, colorism in South Asian culture has come under fire in a number of ways. In recent months, instances such as Bollywood stars promoting skin-whitening creams while championing Black Lives Matter and the casual colorist statements in the reality dating show Indian Matchmaking have resulted in a heated discourse surrounding the topic, which, at times, has spurred change. Radhika Parameswaran, a professor in the Media School at Indiana University, Bloomington, spoke to TIME about that context.

TIME: What are some different ways in which colorism manifests itself in Bollywood?

Parameswaran: One of the biggest visual reminders and symbols of colorism is who is cast. In Bollywood, the prevalence of the star system is huge—movie stars make the movie. They become national idols, and people are their fans. Not that you don’t have those types of visual cultures and fans in the U.S., but in India, there is a large population who cannot read or write; films transcend those barriers of literacy, and in a country that’s in the Global South, the role that films can play is huge. The movie stars that have been idealized in Bollywood, particularly in terms of women, have been very, very light-skinned, and that continues today. The settings they’re in are usually very lavish, so light-skinned beauty gets tied to issues of class and upward mobility.

What is the underlying message you get from the lyric “by merely looking at you, oh fair lady, Beyoncé will feel shy”?

It’s the hero addressing the heroine, saying, not only are you white and beautiful, but you would put a transnationally beautiful star to shame, arguing that the Indian light-skinned beauty is even more powerful than a celebrity force coming from America. On a more complicated note, it’s nationalist as well as colorist. It suggests a sort of resistance to American supremacy, but on the other hand, it doesn’t get rid of the problem of local hierarchies of skin color.

If colorism has such a deep history in Bollywood, why do you think this particular moment has caused such an outcry?

There are various reasons. One is that there has been an activist movement against colorism that’s been building momentum over the last ten years I would say, getting more and more amplified. Barkha Dutt, the famous Indian journalist, used to host a show called We the People. She had two episodes, years ago, that talked about colorism and racism, and this discussion made the national stage. Nandita Das, a celebrity example, has been speaking up against colorism. Women of Worth is an on-the-ground charity that has been trying to go into schools and ordinary people’s lives, just engaging the public in this pedagogy of how to get rid of colorism. There are also ordinary people making fun of skin-lightening ads by creating spoofs of them. So there has been a societal contestation of colorism coming from various points of view and various agents.

Then you have Black Lives Matter, which went to India in a way it might not have 20 years ago thanks to social media and the Indian diaspora. All of this combined, it is even surprising that this song was composed, performed and made public. It is quite shocking that these movie-makers didn’t realize this.

In general, what is the role of the diaspora in the colorism debate?

I think the diaspora have been quite active. In India, colorism, even 10 years ago, was easily brushed off as “of course light skin is beautiful.” There was an unquestioned solidity to that claim. It was simply not challenged. And there’s the connection to caste too, so these were all just sort of taken at face value.

The diaspora grew up in a different environment where discrimination is being spoken about, it’s not going away—but it has been spoken about through the language of race. I also think the diaspora, who may have gone to schools and participated in other kinds of experiences in institutions, where perhaps they were a minority and faced racism, are very quick to see this and understand it in a way that perhaps in India, it has taken some time for people to grapple with and understand.

How does colorism move from the screen into the everyday lives of people?

Media messages are not like a hypodermic needle, where you inject it into people’s bodies, and it just becomes part of them. I think it’s a more subtle process and depends on class, education, all of those factors. It’s not to suggest that lower classes and less educated people are more susceptible and practice more colorism, it’s not that simple. I do think in some ways upper classes may be doing it more. But still, it does shape the norms of society. Women in particular keep getting measured against these norms. Can there be cracks in the norms? Sure, but those will be unusual.

The filmmakers decided to change the lyric entirely. Is it rare for backlash to cause such a change?

In some films, there’s nothing to be done. The film is out, it’s released, like Bala, which was a story that featured a dark-skinned heroine, but the actor cast was light-skinned and wore brownface. But I do this is going to be more of the trend, especially with issues surrounding skin color. This type of colorism, it’s going to get challenged.

Do you think this continued challenging of colorism will result in deeper change?

Here is the thing. It’s one thing to lose the language of “goriya” and the reference to Beyoncé. But does this mean the heroines are going to start being dark-skinned? No. In terms of casting and representation, it’s going to take a long, long time for that to change. Changing a word is fairly easy to do, and cosmetic, and makes the film producers look socially responsible, but changing how the heroines look, that will not be immediate.

This incident comes not long after the skin-whitening cream Fair & Lovely changed its name to Glow & Lovely, though it kept its product the same, again following a social media fallout tied to Bollywood. Do you think companies will begin to make changes even before a controversy comes up?

I think they will tend to wait until an outcry happens first. Bollywood is a mass, popular industry, so they’re going to count on catering to what they think are mass, popular tastes, and I’m sure they’re going to consider whether protests from what they view as a small, elite population that may not even go to their movies are worth it. If a movie is going to be broadcast in the Hindi heartland and all sorts of rural areas and small towns, how much is this type of issue going to be contested in those spaces? We have to ask, who has access to the English language internet, given India’s vast class divisions and rural-urban divisions? Is this a small minority speaking to themselves? In [that] case, Bollywood is going to make cosmetic changes, and I don’t think they’re really going to take this into account in a careful way.

With reporting by Arpita Aneja

Write to Anna Purna Kambhampaty at


Is Lucia State Hospital From ‘Ratched’ a Real Place?




Alright, Ratched fans. If you’ve watched even one episode of the new Netflix Ryan Murphy show, you’ve probably got questions. Like, why does Hollywood keep casting hot dudes to play serial killers? And why do I suddenly want a car from the 1940s even though I’m currently living in 2020? But the even more urgent question you probably have is about the location, Lucia, California. Is it a real place? And does the spooky and very-corrupt Lucia State Hospital actually exist? Here’s what we know.

Lucia, California is very real.

You read that correctly! It’s a super small town close to Big Sur, California. So small, in fact, that mail doesn’t even technically get addressed to Lucia. It gets addressed to Big Sur. So we’re not trying to commit Lucia, California erasure or anything, but it’s a super small community. Like, only about 1,000 people live there.

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There is no mental institution there.

And there never has been, apparently! Which means that while the overhead shots of the cliffs and scenery the show uses were actually shot in the Lucia area, the footage of the hospital was not. That was shot mostly in L.A. on a soundstage. Production designer Judy Becker was inspired for the look of the hospital by Arrowhead Springs Hotel in San Bernardino. The show couldn’t actually film at that location, so they recreated it.

That lovely seaside motel is real, though.

It’s called Lucia Lodge, and you can actually go stay there. “One of my favorite sets is the motel in Lucia, where Nurse Ratched stays,” Becker told Town & Country. “The exterior is a real place just south of Big Sur. It’s called the Lucia Lodge and it’s on a cliff over the ocean. It’s amazing looking and when we saw it, I thought about Psycho when she drives to the creepy motel in the middle of nowhere—I just knew we had to shoot there.”

I mean, can you blame her? Look at these views!

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BRB, booking my eventual post-COVID-19 vacation.

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An ingenious Bill Murray will make you miss NYC




In the pantheon of perfect Bill Murray roles — “Caddyshack,” “Groundhog Day,” “Lost In Translation” — his smooth-talking character in the new comedy “On The Rocks” ranks as one of the best.

He plays Felix, a suave New York renaissance man and art dealer in Sofia Coppola’s wonderful movie — the pair’s first narrative feature collaboration since 2003’s “Lost In Translation” — which premiered Wednesday night in the New York Film Festival.

Murray, bless him, brought me back to the New York we all miss like hell; the city of late-night spontaneity we’re told we might not get back.

All of us, for example, have experienced some version of this scene: In the middle of the film, a cop pulls over Felix’s red sports car, which he’s been speeding like a NASCAR driver up and down Manhattan, and spots a bottle of Krug Champagne in the cupholder. The officer tells him to get out of the car.

“O’Callahan. Are you Tommy’s boy?,” he says to the shocked cop. Two minutes later, after regaling the guy who almost arrested him with stories about his grandfather and his family home in the Adirondacks, Felix is off the hook. Every waiter is “George!”, every party is, in some way, his own. What any of us wouldn’t give for a spontaneous night of rule breaking and lounge hopping with a genuine NY character, like Murray’s, again.

Coppola’s funny and slyly emotional film, which should be cherished, is the closest we’ll get to that for a while.

On the Rocks film review
Rashida Jones and Bill Murray with director Sofia Coppola on the NYC set of “On The Rocks.”Photo by James Devaney/GC Images

The rowdy evening is spent with Laura (Rashida Jones), Felix’s less flashy daughter who suspects her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans at his most tender) is cheating on her with a leggy new business partner. Days earlier, Felix had Dean followed, and spotted him having dinner at J. Sheekey in London and shopping at Cartier on Fifth Ave. Suspicious.

So, the duo hops Felix’s car and secretly trails the hubby around New York to try to catch him in the act. The movie is an expense account bar crawl dream: they visit 21, the Soho House and Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle. Felix brings along a tin of caviar — “American,” he admits — while cooly rattling off his theses on masculinity.

“He’s male,” Felix, a notorious womanizer himself, says of Dean. “It’s his nature. Males are forced to fight to dominate and impregnate all females.” Murray, as only he can, makes a remark that would get most men slapped in the face totally adorable.

When Murray quietly discusses a de Kooning painting or bonobos or why the Plaza is the perfect hotel for infidelity, every one of Coppola’s lines sparks with pathos and raunchiness — like a TED Talk at Hooters. He also forges a delicate, sweet, believable father-daughter relationship with Jones, whose textured Laura is yet another reason to love this movie.

Laura lives in Soho with her two daughters and husband, while attempting to write a novel and enduring her own Groundhog Day loop of taking the girls to school and being forced to listen to another, single mom dish about her latest boy toy in the pick-up line.

Outside of Murray’s classic New York persona, Laura’s home life features some of Coppola’s finest writing. She isn’t sit-com harried or brusquely professional. Laura always carries a Strand tote bag and is reliant on a nearby baby sitter. Jones’ restrained frustration will strike a chord with many.

But it’s Murray who’s turned in a modern New York movie treasure. File Felix right next to J.J. Hunsecker, Arthur Bach and Addison Dewitt.

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10 Throwback Disney Channel Halloween Costumes That’ll Make You So Nostalgic




Deciding what to dress up as for Halloween is never an easy choice. In your younger years, costumes were usually centered around your favorite hobbies, future career aspirations (any other former wannabe astronauts out there?), or whatever your adult decided to dress you as. As everyone grew up, however, ballerinas morphed into sexy kittens and future doctors dressed as memes. So, if you’re stuck on a look this year, consider a throwback Disney Channel Halloween costume that will make all your IG followers feel just like little kids again (and probably regret their decision to go as Joe Exotic like everyone else).

It’s no secret Disney provides a treasure trove of costume ideas, from princesses to magical nannies, boys who never grow up, to cuddly not-so-scary monsters. Not only is there a look for everyone’s vibe, but the costumes make for great IG caption fodder, too. While Disney feature films like Frozen and Snow White inspire countless Halloween costumes every year, ‘fits inspired by Disney Channel original movies and shows aren’t as common, so you’ll be less like to come across repeats, but you’ll be just as recognizable.

So, whether you bring it back to 1999 by dressing like a girl living in 2049 or you slap on a purple witch hat and head to Halloweentown, here are some of the best throwback Disney Channel lewks (as well as everything you need to pull them off).

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1. ‘The Cheetah Girls’


Few Disney Channel looks are more iconic than those in The Cheetah Girls. The Disney Channel Original Movie may have come out in 2003, but animal print never went out of style, so this costume is totally trendy for 2020. Whether you go with the traditional tan cheetah pattern or pick a more vibrant color, there are tons of options out there.

While having a group of four is ideal for this costume, if you’re dressing solo, just say you’re a Cheetah Girl missing your sisters and you’ll be set.

2. ‘Hannah Montana’


Welcome to the world of low cut jeans, sparkly tanks, lots of layering, and chunky highlights. Miley Cyrus’s ever-changing look is the stuff of costume dreams, so take it back to the role that put her on the map with a full-sequin outfit.

To dress Cyrus’s Disney character (when she was in pop star mode, of course), channel an early 2000s vibe with bold sparkles, a blonde wig, and as many gold accessories as you can find. Don’t forget the mic so you can belt her theme song.

3. ‘High School Musical’


Get ready sing “Breaking Free” on repeat after dressing like Gabriella and/or Troy from High School Musical. The looks are relatively simple to pull off — all you need are some staples you probably have in your closet. Toss on a red dress or rock a white basketball set (you might as well buy a Wildcats jersey if you don’t have something usable in your closet). Don’t forget to tote around Troy’s trusty basketball to complete the ensemble.

4. ‘Zenon: Girl Of The 21st Century’


According to the brains of the late ’90s, in a little over 20 years, everyone will be wearing pigtails and pink jumpsuits. While I have a hard time believing this is what my kids will be wearing to school, the looks make for great Halloween costumes, especially if you like pink.

Whether you’re channeling Zenon or her bestie, Nebula Wade, the looks are pretty simple. Pair a pink unitard with a mini skirt and vest in matching colors. Finally, finish the look with some high ponies and silver accessories for an out-of-this-world costume.

5. ‘The Proud Family’


If you’re looking to get animated (and buy costume pieces you might actually wear again) dressing like Penny Proud or her nemesis-turned-frenemy LaCienega are easy and cute ways to make Disney fans proud. For Penny, pair a maroon skirt with a collard shirt and pink cardigan, and don’t forget her signature pigtails.

For LaCienega, layer a red cardigan over a pale pink shirt, and don some jean capris, light blue tennies, and some pale pink socks. Finally, tuck a red flower behind your ear to become one of the most beloved mean girls out there.

6. ‘Lizzie McGuire’


If you want a costume that dreams are made of, Lizzie McGuire is the ultimate Disney throwback. While her most iconic look isn’t technically from Disney Channel, since she wore it in the movie was released to theaters, I’m letting it slide because it’s just that good. To pull off her pop-star look, deck yourself out in a full lavender getup, and snag some extra fabric to make the long train. Finally, toss on your headset prior to taking the social media stage to complete the ‘fit.

7. ‘Kim Possible’


Kim Possible is the ultimate cool girl and her style is effortlessly simple to pull off. Plus, she makes for the perfect 2020 costume with captions like: “Call me, beep me, because coronavirus won’t let you meet me.” To make this look possible, simply pair some olive cargo pants with a long-sleeve black crop top, a fanny pack, and some thick black gloves.

If you don’t have Kim’s luscious red locks, a wig or semi-permanent dye can help complete the look.

8. ‘That’s So Raven’


Raven Baxter had a ton of awesome outfits throughout the series, and the easiest (and one of the most remembered) one is actually fairly simple to pull off. Tan pants, a red grid coat, a rust-colored scarf, and some sunnies are all you need. Just tuck a flower behind your ear and practice your “I’m getting a vision” look to fully nail the ‘fit.

9. ‘Cadet Kelly’


Hilary Duff’s alternate Disney ego, Cadet Kelly, had a look almost as well-loved as her Lizzie McGuire style. Just like with most of the throwbacks, it involves statement pieces you probably either burned, tossed, or hid deep in the closet. Pair a pink shirt with some pink and purple camo pants, a belt that looks like it belonged to a leprechaun, and add some bangles, hoop earrings, and every piece of Tiffany jewelry your exes gave you that you haven’t been able to part with.

10. ‘Halloweentown’


It wouldn’t be a Disney Channel costume list without mentioning the channel’s most loved Halloween flick, Halloweentown. Marnie Piper’s iconic witch costume is simple to recreate at home; all you need is a robe, a witch’s hat, and some silver felt. Just cut out some felt stars and crescent moons in different sizes and use either hot glue or fabric glue to adhere them to the robe and the hat.

Whether you try to match these costumes down to the last stitch or you just use the looks as an inspiration, the point is to wear something that makes you feel good while still getting the reference across. Feel free to have fun with it, because after all, that’s what Halloween — and Disney Channel — is all about.

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