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With a shudder Bipasha remembers the incident of racial abuse in the UK. "During the shooting of Goal Arshad Warsi and I were waiting at the signal at the location. At the red light two white guys dressed really weirdly leaned out of the car window and started rapping out the most disgusting racist song. That was their unique way of insulting us."
Bipasha says she has never felt more humiliated as a human being, woman and a celebrity. "It took me a while to understand what was happening. Arshad and I just kept looking at each other in helpless amazement as their song went on and on. And mind you, this was in the most densely populated Asian locality in Southall. They called us Pakis and many dirty things. The insult was targeted more at me as their lewd song was more girl-driven."
Bipasha was horrified to learn this kind of attack was considered normal among Asians in Britain. "They said, it's nothing to get alarmed about…. 'Welcome to the UK'. How can any community or people accept such humiliation lying down?! I've been subjected to unbecoming behaviour and I've retaliated with vengeance. Even when I used to travel by auto I've slapped men who've behaved badly with me."
She says she's no stranger to discrimination and bias. "I'm dark-skinned and when I'm without makeup people actually try to make me feel good by saying, 'Arrey aap to itni gori hain. Screen pe itni kaali dikhti hain! ' Please, main gori nahin hoon. Let's get that very clear."
The mindsets on discrimination are changing, and Bipasha is proud to be part of that change. "On my website women objected so strongly when a men's fairness cream was launched. They wrote directly to me to say how much confidence I had given them by being dark-skinned and yet successful. I feel, as a celebrity I can make a difference in the way we perceive people outside our gender or social circle. After I lost a lot of weight and started looking after myself, so many girls consult me on my website about healthy….not about looking good or getting into hour-glass shape, mind you, but just being well. I feel every actor needs to be responsible in their conduct. Because people love us for who we are. We can't afford to let them down."