The Family Man 2 co-creator Raj said they wanted Samantha to play ‘that action girl who who can land the punch; someone who can be physically fit and take on a guy double her size,’ who had no time to focus on beauty.
The Family Man 2 creators Raj and DK recently addressed the outrage against Samantha Akkineni’s character Raji, aka Rajyalakshmi Sekaran, being portrayed in brownface. In an interview with Film Companion, the duo explained that the decision to show her several shades darker than her original skin tone was taken to “get the character right.”
They added that they did not choose an actor of “a different race” to play the role either. Raj said they wanted Samantha to play “that action girl who who can land the punch; someone who can be physically fit and take on a guy double her size,” who had no time to focus on beauty.
“This whole thing comes in the context of beauty, when you’re trying to say dark skin is not beautiful and fair skin is beautiful… This is not that context, number one. There is no context of skin beauty in this. We are all shades of brown. Now, the idea is that if each one is a shade of brown, so it’s not about getting a different race to play this (character). It’s not a race thing either. These are the two contexts where it should be looked down upon, and that’s where the main problem is. And we are well aware of it; it’s not like we are irresponsible filmmakers, to propagate something of that kind,” said Raj.
DK said that Samantha had trained for three months, learned martial arts and even learned a different dialect of Tamil for the role. “Now add to that the concept of hair, makeup and costume, that is the complete character that we are presenting. This is the character of Raji; she looks a certain way, she walks a certain way, and she’s a killing machine, and that’s all there is to it,” said the filmmaker.
Previously, actors like Hrithik Roshan (in Super 30), Bhumi Pednekar (in Bala), Ranveer Singh (in Gully Boy), Alia Bhatt (in Udta Punjab) have been criticised for being portrayed in brownface.
The Family Man, led by Manoj Bajpayee, also stars Sharib Hashmi, Priyamani, Shreya Dhanwanthary, Sunny Hinduja, Shahab Ali, Ashlesha Thakur and Vedant Sinha.