Why are Bollywood songs in my news?

Published: June 28, 2012

The least channels can do is not mock current affairs with hit numbers.

Pakistan’s political scenario took an unexpected turn when Yousaf Raza Gilani was declared ineligible by the Supreme Court. However, what we got to see on our news channels were pictures of Yousaf Raza Gilani with ‘Yeh kya hua, kese hua, kab hua?’ playing in the background, repeatedly!

The public was asked to wait until Friday when the new prime minister would be elected while the former prime minister’s decisions, expenditures and budget were being questioned. Yet, what we got to view throughout Friday were pictures of candidates for the prime minister position with some more songs playing in the background.

What struck me as most bizarre was the song ‘Raja ki ayegi baraat, rangeeli hogi raat’ playing behind an old video of Raja Pervez Ashraf. This repeated for quite a while too – even after he became the prime minister of Pakistan.

This was not an isolated incident. In fact, last month, when policemen in Punjab were instructed to lose weight and include exercise in their routine, a video of some of the policemen exercising in a park was played with ‘Ek, do, teen’, the famous Madhuri Dixit song serving as background music.

It is understandable that with 80-90 channels on that ‘idiot box’, there is a need for entertainment to hold viewers’ attention.

Undoubtedly, there is nothing more entertaining than the peppy numbers from across the border that can even leave toddlers bobbing their heads.

However, coming across Indian songs while looking at the headlines for the day just leaves nothing but questions regarding the logic behind such actions.

I suppose we as Pakistanis have become so desensitised to news stories of constant violence and strife that putting a light twist is a way of preventing a plunge in to deep depression. Having said as much, I do not think this is quality journalism.

I believe that showing political news and current affairs with Bollywood songs as background music cannot be justified in any manner.

I am no media critic, but showing serious issues with light music in the background irritates viewers and takes away, often-times, from the gravity of the news. Thus, expecting the awam to rally and take action against something cannot be expected if news is made in to a joke.

While our country is going through a rough time, the least news channels can do is not make a mockery of current affairs. Also, something should definitely be done about the little smirk news anchors have on their faces after these headlines with Indian songs are telecasted!

Maham.Kamal

Maham Kamal Khanum

An International Baccalaureate student and intern at The Express Tribune who tweets @mahamkhanum

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/613/komal-ali/ Komal Ali

    Excellent points raised, Maham! It’s about time our media revisit journalism ethics and implement them instead of making a mockery out of the field of journalism.Recommend

  • T

    A very nice topic ..put up briefly and concisely. I have always hated this…juvenile journalism I will call that.Recommend

  • Alapan

    I dont clearly understand…

    u have a problem with songs in serious news?

    or

    u have problem with Bollywood songs in Pakistani news ? in that case, u would not mind, the same with Lollywood songs in background..Recommend

  • Anon

    Thank You! Finally a voice of reason.Recommend

  • Imran

    Thanks for putting forward this issue. Its really difficult to watch news now a days with family. Just during a news bulletin a song with slang language and immodest video comes up and we just have to endure it all. And as you said news with song is mockery with whole nation.Recommend

  • Ahmad

    So now are a nation which enjoys it’s own demise.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/944/sabeer-lodhi/ Sabeer Lodhi

    Excellent!

    A brilliant point raised and I had been meaning to write on this myself but you beat me to it!

    But I’d like to make a slight disagreement here;

    “I am no media critic, but showing serious issues with light music in the background irritates viewers and takes away, often-times, from the gravity of the news. Thus, expecting the awam to rally and take action against something cannot be expected if news is made in to a joke.”

    Even if a news is portrayed in all earnestness, our ‘awaam’ still won’t and can’t take any ‘action’ per se. How many news were reported the way they should have been and reacted to by the awaam? In our country, where Raymond Davis is released without the bat of an eyelash, and people like Raja Riaz are our prime ministers, even if the awaam cries foul, there’s not much that will and can be done.

    However, once again – you’ve raised a pertinent point with this blog.Recommend

  • Rashid

    @Alapan:

    Our media is so obsessed with everything Indian that Lollywood songs don’t stand a chance.

    Nevertheless, the point is that serious issues should not be trivialized by playing songs in the background.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/944/sabeer-lodhi/ Sabeer Lodhi

    Excellent!

    A brilliant point raised and I had been meaning to write on this myself but you beat me to it!

    But I’d like to make a slight disagreement here;

    *”I am no media critic, but showing serious issues with light music in the background irritates viewers and takes away, often-times, from the gravity of the news. Thus, expecting the awam to rally and take action against something cannot be expected if news is made in to a joke.”*

    Even if a news is portrayed in all earnestness, our ‘awaam’ still won’t and can’t take any ‘action’ per se. How many news were reported the way they should have been and reacted to by the awaam? In our country, where Raymond Davis is released without the bat of an eyelash, and people like Raja Riaz are our prime ministers, even if the awaam cries foul, there’s not much that will and can be done.

    However, once again – you’ve raised a pertinent point with this blog.Recommend

  • http://Karachi. GlobalNomad

    Oh my god this is so strong and upfront, impressed with the way you have out this. Recommend

  • Omar Shahid

    Finally some sane voice !!Recommend

  • nasreen ali

    Hi Maham

    your thoughts are honest & innocent but please allow me to add that: please think IF the back wasground music & all the mockery hurled towards whoever
    it was meant directed to desrved it!!!!

    However I am proud to see the very nicely worded thoughts & views from your end….Recommend

  • http://www.hmazeest.com Owais Sheikh

    : Finally a voice against this Insanity. Stop copying Fox News and Indian News Channels to produce ‘Sansani’ and “entertainment” .. be journalists and maintain your integrity.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    What a petty thing to complain about.

    Sometimes news channels add humor to political reports just to lighten up the mood. To entertain and inform the public at the same time.

    It’s the same principle as the Bill Maher Show, Daily Show with John Stewart, the Colbert Report etc. They’re not trying to devalue important national affairs…it’s just political comedy.Recommend

  • ovais khan

    i second your opinion because u raised pretty valid point via a sound platform kep it up girl hoping to see some more such sensible blogs from youRecommend

  • Ordinary Villager

    A great article. Besides i think every song have Intellectual property rights and not only we should not play these songs but also infringement of copyright is another problem and Indian media can claim these songs and then Pakistani media have to pay for lawsuits as well. We should learn from news channels like Sky, BBC and Algazeera English that how to give news in a reasonable manner. It is the content of the news that matter the most rather than background music and Pakistani media have to learn about it. Recommend

  • MGA

    Great work. Thank you. At last someone spoke about it. I don’t even feel like watching any Pakistani news channels these days because of the same reason.

    And what about those investigative reports and crime stories on every news channel, I think that is as obnoxious as seeing a report on nurses rallying for their rights and we hear Ibrar Ul Haq’s aaj mela waikhan aayan kuriyaan lahore diyaan. How stupid can it get……. Recommend

  • http://think-islam.blogspot.com PostMan

    The quality of our electronic news channels is really great you know. Here is a sample:
    1 – When Kolkatta Knight Riders won the IPL, a news channel had this on headline news ‘Indian model ABC nein KKR k jeetnay per apni urya’n tasaweer jaari ker di’n!
    2 – Another headline news was about actress Vidya Balan and for the imagery we had her item song ‘Oo La la’ (Dirty Pictures) with her ‘blossoming’ in scenes and rolling around with Naseer ud din Shah.
    Finger lickin good. Recommend

  • galli ke larki

    idiot box doesn’t have a head of its own. it plays what is directed by the idiots watching it. DO NOT WATCH IT IF YOU DO NOT LIKE IT. Public gives TRP to bollywood numbers.
    so many quality shows had to take leave from the idiot box because you the idiots didn’t watch it. Media owners are running businesses. They’ll only sell what you buy. stop complaining and use the power of remote control you hold. Recommend

  • Wellwisher

    Just because the author thinks it is in appropriate to juxtapose songs with the video images, does not mean it is incorrect. Atleast I beg to differ. If the wordings of the song(s) being juxtaposed, co incidently relfect the political mood or the video and if it accentuates the value of it. Go for it. I feel too much is made of it. An issue being made of a non issue, honestly
    Rgds
    PRecommend

  • sidewinder

    LOL @Raja ki aayegi Barat,…arre bhai barat aa hi gayi na aakhir.really its a novel idea, it reduces workload for the news writers,as much can be conveyed through songs.saves time too,entertainment apart.Indian news channels should definitely look into this matterRecommend

  • Syeda Soobia Fatima

    you raised a very valid point! news are suppose to be objective, and this objectivity is compromised when they are told with cheap bollywood numbers playing in the backdrop! Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Very good point. It’s annoying to hear these Indian songs. There is such a wide variety of songs available from Islamic nations that we could play on such occasions, but stupid anchors insist on playing Indian songs. Someone needs to investigate why!Recommend

  • http://- Bacha Hussain

    Indian culture is being imposed on us. Our generation forgets its culture by watching Indian dramas and movies. Majority of Pakistani media itself follows the same thing. People in media should boost the culture and traditions of its own nation rather than following the life style of non-Muslims.Recommend

  • Confused

    It doesn’t contribute to journalism? Well, that’s surprising.
    These songs work for the thousands of people who watch these news and are also entertained by Bollywood songs, because frankly speaking those songs are the only mass media amusement they get, what with our wonderfully implemented censorship laws.
    Don’t give the channel views and they’ll learn from it. Complimenting or complaining merely gives more viewership.
    Besides, what quality journalism is there? There is nothing respectful to say about our political news. The more you attempt to make quality news the less you can go without realizing it’s not worth it and you’re better off just making a mockery out of it.Recommend

  • Conan

    Pakistani news channels are terrible.Recommend

  • Jat

    Although I am an Indian, this is a very sensible piece of writing.Recommend

  • LionOfPunjab

    Jo tumko hai pasand, wahi batein karenge,
    Tum din ko agar raat kahe, hum raat kahengei!
    -some old song from bollywood Recommend

  • Pollack

    A confused article from a confused mind. Is the author against playing songs in the background while showing political news or is she against showing Indian songs in the background? Maybe the TV guys couldn’t find appropriate songs in tollywood with their very limited catalog. Recommend

  • http://Karachi. GlobalNomad

    @Faraz Talat:
    and why must we follow Bill Maher Show, Daily Show with John Stewart, the Colbert Report etc. where does it say what they are doing is a sound standard to follow.Recommend

  • Naina Sethi

    Our lives our so hot- amid in this heat and atrocities. Don’t you feel that this is one way the citizens can get a respite? Its a complex society. In India we have background score as well. Recommend

  • http://www.kabacreations.com Vishnu Dutta

    Because Bollywood has a very long and rich history and it has made songs on every possible situations of our lives. also you guys can understand hindi very well and connect to our desi songs.
    simple as that.Recommend

  • http://www.kabacreations.com Vishnu Dutta

    Also dont you guys listen to Indian music according to situations in your life or phase you are going through. you can connect to them and you cannot deny it.
    you also play Indian songs in weddings, sports, jalsas, mehfils and clubs.
    just admit it, you love us ;)Recommend

  • Jat

    Bacha Hussain – So you are not content with the damage caused by religion and backward thinking – and want that to happen in media too ? Oh boy !!Recommend

  • ishaq

    Simple Answer : OUR MEDIA IS TOTALLY UNPROFESSIONAL Recommend

  • Parvez

    Agree with you 110%. This is not just in bad taste, I feel it is a deliberate attempt to trivialise the news so that it loses its impact with the common man and ridicules him at the same time saying ‘well as you can’t do much about it, lay back and enjoy it’. The people who are supposedly being ridiculed do not seem to mind as they realise the TV channels are actually doing them a favour.Recommend

  • Deb

    @Conan

    Indian channels are no better.Actually at gutt level we are no different from each other.Recommend

  • qurratulain

    I agree to the notion raised by the author- I too find unnecessary addition of irrelevant songs in the news rather repulsive-what happened to responsible journalism-where in media laws and ethics focus on objectivity of news-to the very detail of tone and expression of the news readers lest it may reflect under tone of bias-I rather find these cheesy bollywood numbers rather ridiculous-
    A very well executed idea! Cant wait for most posts from you Recommend

  • Pollack

    @kaalchakra:
    “There is such a wide variety of songs available from Islamic nations that we could play on such occasions, but stupid anchors insist on playing Indian songs. Someone needs to investigate why!”

    You are seriously funny and I don’t think you realize it. :-)Recommend

  • ZuhairM

    Very important issue raised here, Maham. I completely agree with the fact that such crassness robs investigative and serious journalism of integrity and sincerity. Either you convey news as it is or rename yourselves as entertainment channels.Recommend

  • Jaiho

    For serious news, Print Media is the only channel. TV News has to be quick, fast and entertaining. Because of the costly air-time, a TV News professional wud like to put forth as many news as possible packed in a way that it gets to the target audience effectively.

    Since bollywood music has always been popular amongst the awam, there is no surprise that a TV news professional uses that medium to convey the news cost-effectively.

    So better leave the job to professionals.They know their trade best.Recommend

  • Shahrukh Mughal

    Very well said Maham and agree with you on this issue raised. Media is turned into MediaGOON! They think they can do anything they want!. Media not should only realize but be mature enough to be the 4th pillar of state! They should not cross the thin line of respect for the country.
    I don’t admire people who make mockery of our country. Media should work hard to be positive and sincere for their county.

    Regards,
    ShahrukhRecommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Global Nomad:

    “and why must we follow Bill Maher Show, Daily Show…etc. where does it say what they are doing is a sound standard to follow.”

    Because satire is a powerful way of making important political statements, the value of which most Pakistanis don’t seem to appreciate.

    The general public is often too biased, or just not educated enough to understand complex facts and statistics, and interpret them meaningfully. Humorous analogies get the point across to the people much more easily.

    I’m not just talking about liberal satirists only (though the more popular ones do happen to be liberal). I’m talking about the effectiveness of political humor in general.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/mozan.rock Wajid Ahmed

    This is called “zard sahafat”

    Infect this is not sahafat it Jokers channel. (GEO NEWS)Recommend

  • http://www.thejuice.ae yasir akram

    Great subject. It’s about time someobody puts a leash on these so called thekaydars of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Farhan

    I never see the point of songs playing in the background when there is any kind of news on TV. If the news is about showbiz, then it might make a bit of sense, however, when it comes to serious affairs like the government, it is absolutely uncalled for. How many big news channels in the west do that? I am not trying to compare them exactly as of course, the culture is differente but the quality of journalism is reflectedRecommend

  • Indi-Pop

    Repeated mention of “Bollywood songs” in this article clearly hint that the blogger has an aversion to bollywood songs being played and maybe not so much with songs produced in her own country. Playing Lollywood or Coke Studio songs is okay?Recommend

  • Maham Kamal Khanum

    @Indi-Pop:
    Seriously!! That’s all you get from the whole thing. I have nothing against Bollywood songs, in fact I love them but all I mean is that news is not their place. And the repeated mention of ‘Bollywood’ songs is because only they are used in these kind of used. Lady Gaga hasn’t come to our news channels yet!Recommend

  • impersonal

    hahaha Nice piece of writing btw.Truly,this act cannot be justified and media should think about it seriously but C’mon .. We all (excluding some) enjoy it . dont we? :PRecommend

  • Baba Ji

    That brings me to the point that why indian song/movie news are in HEADLINES of Pakistani channels ? don’t we have any other thing to report ?Recommend

  • http://Karachi. GlobalNomad

    @Indi-Pop: There is a blog in praise of indian songs by the same author in The News Blog, google search and read. Your comment is not quiet justified. It is no brainer that the author is against the songs in general. Recommend

  • trrao

    @Pollack:

    Is it you have meant ‘Lollywood’? Because ‘Tollywood’ is Hyderabad (Deccan).Recommend

  • aizaz bokhari

    now i wish i hadn’t laughed at those smirks! you have given something to think about. thank you. and this is impressive.Recommend

  • akhtar

    aakhir hain tou Pakistani original Hindustani Recommend

  • Indi-Pop

    @Maham Kamal Khanum: Nice of you to clarify this issue. But frankly you could have made the same point without mentioning Bollywood repeatedly. How does mentioning ‘Indian’ or ‘Bollywood’ add more weight to your argument? People have a tendency to assume the worst when it comes to issues which have Indo-Pak elements in them. Other commentators on your blog have picked on the same thing. I just hope you are a more ‘careful’ writer in the future.

    Regards.Recommend

  • http://Karachi. Dumb

    @Indi-Pop: Dude why so sent!!! they play BOLLYWOOD Songs so she mentioned it, why are you so touchy. BOLLYWOOD SONGS!!!!!Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    I don’t know. I think there are some Turkish and Azerbaijani songs that will go great with Pakistani news.Recommend

  • http://www.kabacreations.com Vishnu Dutta

    Why is there crappy news in my Indian Songs?Recommend

  • Indi-Pop

    @Dumb: It’s ‘Dudette’ actually :P And no I am not being ‘senti’, just stating facts as I see them. No offence intended to the blogger, she has raised a relevant issue. Recommend

  • Cynical

    @kaalchakra

    Of all people you should know better, that music is haram, whether it is Turkish or Azerbaijani, Indian or Argentinian.
    The point is ‘no music’ with or without news.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Cynical, any reading from the Holy Quran sounds better than any other music to a Muslim.

    All news must be accompanied by such readings so people can bring themselves and the nation to the correct path and fix any and all errors they might be committing.Recommend

  • http://Karachi. Dumb

    @Indi-Pop: Then you stick to the relevant issue only.Recommend

  • http://Karachi. Dumb

    @kaalchakra: Your comment appear completely lame, sounds so out opt place.Recommend

  • Indi-Pop

    @Dumb: That was a dumb reply but expected.Recommend

  • Jat

    @Indi-Pop: Never mind; some dumb people are plain dumb ! :)Recommend

  • Eman

    Thank you very much…. i so wanted to say this what you said in your BLOG… Highly appreciated. I hope those news channels are reading you….Recommend

  • http://tribune.com.pk/author/434/ammar-zafarullah/ Ammar Zafarullah

    pertinent points Maham! but public demand bhee koi cheez hoti hai ….Recommend

  • Higgs

    These songs playing on our news channels are evidence of two facts:

    Distorted and biased worldview depicted by these channels
    Cheap mentality of uneducated people working in television journalism
    Recommend

  • omer

    WHY?
    Because Pakistanis simply cant live without Bollywood… Almost everyone i know including some Maulvis… Cant breath without Indian songs/movies.
    I’ve even heard some NAATS from the Mosque near my place based on Indian tunes.

    Jab poori Qaum he doobi hoie ho Bollywood mein… then i guess there’s nothing wrong with that or showing Bollywood news :-D

    Pakistanis love Bollywood… And they need to know why Shahrukh Khan’s toilet was blocked!!

    PUBLIC DEMAND!Recommend

  • Paki

    Well the problem is.. parhay likhay aur jahilo mein koi fark nahe reh gaya aj kal.
    Aj kal parhay likhay bhi jahilo wali harkatain/baatain kertay hain.

    I am sure people who run these channels are highly educated.. but sadly their mentality remains the same.
    The concept that education does this or that to your personality doesn’t apply in Pakistan.
    They Remain paindo/jahils.Recommend