India’s mass market whitening pioneer was “Fair & Lovely,” launched in 1975 by Hindustan Unilever.
Indian consumer group Emami later came up with “Fair and Teen” for girls and “Fair and Handsome” for men.
Promoted by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, the latest advert shows him tossing a tube of the cream from the red carpet to a young male fan.
Dark is Beautiful has launched a petition against the “irresponsible” video and its message that “fair skin is a prerequisite for success.”
So far more than 15,000 people have signed up in protest, but Khan has not responded.
Das believes whitening cream developers did not create Indians’ color bias and insecurities, but have “cashed in” on it, creating a “vicious circle.”
While men’s fairness products are gaining ground, the actress says women and girls still face far more pressure over their skin tone.
“Until we let women have the same space as men and treat them as human beings, all this will carry on,” Das said.