New Delhi, Dec 24 (PTI): With her flowing gown and piled up hair, Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is picture perfect on Elle magazine's latest cover, but the photograph is reportedly at the centre of a race row for ''whitening''the Indian actress.
According to the British tabloid Daily Mail, the magazine which has previously earned flak for lightening the complexion of Oscar nominated black actress Gabourey Sidibe, has "digitally bleached" the actress to make her look white.
The 37-year-old actress who is a globally recognised face thanks to a lucrative deal with cosmetics major LO'real and films like 'Pink Panther 2', 'Mistress of Spices' and 'Provoked', sports pale skin and gowns in the pictorial inside.
But Elle Magazine has rubbished the "whitening" allegations.
"Daily Mail is claiming to have contacted us for a comment, which is not true. We have not whitened Aishwarya's skin tone in the pictures," Elle India's Editor-in Chief Nonita Kalra, told PTI.
The photographs, which accompany a write-up by filmmaker Pritish Nandy titled the 'Mystique of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan' have also not gone down well with some fans, who have commented about the alleged "racism" online.
"It's annoying because it seems like lighter skin is always in fashion as if darker skin is something to be frowned upon," wrote a fan who calls herself Joan of Arc.
"Her skin tone has clearly been lightened. Indians as a whole prefer lighter skin to darker tones, which is a real shame," wrote Raj, from Birmingham about the former Miss World's pictures.
In September this year, black actress Gabourey Sidibe appeared on the cover of the US magazine with a much paler complexion. On that occasion Elle claimed it had not altered the Precious star's skin any more than that of the other models, photographed alongside her.