Cut to 2017. The actor, who debuted in Bollywood with Nagesh Kukunoor's film Aashayein, is now apologising for "letting this kind of racism perpetrate in our society. For not speaking up." She says she wants to "try and make a difference. And correct a wrong."
In a lengthy Facebook post, Ms Sehgal explains that in 2008, her domestic help asked her which fairness cream she used.
"I suddenly realized how I had failed her. Her and millions of beautiful dark skinned women across the country who now believed that I am fair skinned because I use these creams! Without me realizing I had become part of a mafia undermining the self-esteem of beautiful dusky Indian women."
Ms Sehgal goes on to explain how, in 2015, she made a short film titled "Dancing In The Dark" after attending film school in New York. "My subject was 'exposing the dark side of fairness creams.' I was up against a huge industry not only funded by large sums of money but propelled by deep rooted prejudices in our society. How 'fair equals beautiful' making beauty 'skin deep'. 'Fair also equals successful' as depicted in many fairness creams ads," she writes.
Then last week, deeply disturbed by BJP leader Tarun Vijay's racist comments on South Indians (which he later apologised for) and Abhay Deol's naming and shaming of celebrities endorsing skin-lightening products, Ms Sehgal decided it was time to dust off her hard-drive and finally release her film on Facebook.
The four-and-a-half minute long film has been viewed over 59,000 times since being uploaded on Facebook on April 12. It has collected over 550 reactions and been shared over 350 times.
"This short film was not just about me," Ms Sehgal writes in a follow up Facebook post. "It was to urge the society to wake up to some deep rooted prejudices and the actors, models, who endorse skin lightening products to reflect on the choices they have made."
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