Exclusive – Sumbul Touqeer on facing struggles due to her dark complexion: Had actually started to believe that if I have this skin tone, I can never be a heroine


Sumbul Touqeer, who became a household name with her popular TV show, Imlie enjoys a massive fanbase. She is hailed for her acting abilities and dancing skills and at just 19, the young actress has managed to buy a house of her own in Mumbai. Sumbul is indeed a true inspiration for many women out there. On this Women’s day, the actress joined ETimes TV for an exclusive chat and spoke about buying a house at the age of 19, how she was affected for being ‘dark-skinned’. Sumbul broke her own negative thoughts when she bagged the role of Imlie. Excerpts from the interview:
“I am very happy and this is not just my achievement, but it is my sister and my father’s as well. This house where I am sitting right now is the hard work that my father, my sister and I’ve put in the last 9 years. It is the result of perseverance. This is one of my dreams and I am happy we have been able to fulfil it,” said the actress.

Sumbul, who started her career as a child actor, spoke about the struggles she had to face for being dark skinned, she said, “When I came to Mumbai my interest was never towards becoming an actress. My focus was to become a dancer but I had a change of heart. My initial days were very tough. I started as a child actor and whenever I went for auditions they only wanted fair skinned actors. The requirement was always for fair child actors. It was very demeaning and insulting. It was something which I never appreciated and did not like. For me colour complexion doesn’t stand importance. It would affect him badly and I had started to believe that if you are dark skinned you can’t be a lead heroine. All the heroines, if you see them all, were mostly fair. I don’t have anything against anyone but this is what I started to believe. But this stereotype broke when I bagged Imlie.”
She added, “When I bagged Imlie also things didn’t change instantly. People would call up and say “Arre kaisi ladki ko cast kar liya, kaali hai”. I had felt very bad that day and I had cried a lot but after the telecast things started to change. Our opening TRP numbers were 2.2 and it the number just went up from there it never came down till the time I was part of it. People forgot how I looked, they just noticed my work. The people who disliked me also started praising me. I feel this is all based on convenience.”

Talking about how she was affected by the negative comments, Sumbul shared, “Yes, I was affected by these comments. My sister never got affected with these comments as she is fair skinned. Kids do get affected by these small small things, they won’t say but these comments do affect them. In our society also it happens that we playfully comment on complexion and it stays with the kid and they are hurt. It stayed with me and I couldn’t express it.”

The actress, who is currently one of the most popular faces of the television industry further revealed how Imlie’s success and love from the audience made her gain back her lost confidence, “I had actually started to believe that if I have this skin tone, I can never be a heroine. When I was offered Imlie, I wasn’t convinced that I would get that role, I directly said no and refused the offer in the beginning. Mujhe laga main kya lead role karungi. But they asked me to send an audition. Abhi tak ke life ka sabse kharab audition agar koi raha hai Mera Woh wohi tha that I gave for Imlie. I didn’t get a call for 2 weeks and then suddenly they called me and asked me to come for the shoot. I was shocked as the addition was really bad (laughs). From there I gained confidence and as people started loving Imlie, I started to feel confident about myself. Main apne aap ko lekar confident feel karne lagi. I felt people actually loved me the way I am,” she concluded.


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