Item songs and flirting with danger

Published: February 15, 2013

Those who don’t like this kind of stuff should stop watching it. PHOTO:REUTERS

Item songs have an interesting history. Our parents still remember item numbers such as, Eena meena deeka and Kaho ji tum kya kya khareedo gaay from the 50s for their catchy tunes, interesting lyrics and non-situational placement in films.

The trend continued in the 50s with hits like Main kaa karoon Ram mujhey Buddha mil gaya and Honton pe aisi baat. These were songs with all the characteristics of a good item number except one – they were not cheesy.

In the 60s, the situation began to change when sexual themes were introduced in item songsAa jaane-jaan, piya tu ab to aaja and Raat baaqi were called trendsetters in such content.

The audience reaction to them was initially varied, as some people appreciated them, while others became uncomfortable when they were played.

Jumma chumma de deCholi ke peeche and Sexy sexy mujhey log bolein started a new wave of item numbers, which went on to become super hits, yet were highly controversial for Bollywood audiences in all parts of the world.

The culture of below-the-belt lyrics proved to be a double-edged sword.

For filmmakers, they generated free publicity, helping the film with its box-office success. For the audiences, such songs played a crucial part in diminishing the awkward feeling associated with them.

B-town never looked back.

Filmmakers have cashed in on hundreds of numbers like Beedi jalai ley, Munni badnaam huee, Sheela ki jawaani, Chammak challo, Chikni chameli, Jalebi bai, which portray women in less than skimpy clothes as objects of desire, as if they have been put on this planet for the sole pleasure of men.

For many, such songs are linked to inciting sexual violence.

What I don’t understand is how educated actors happily take up the task; why do they put their bodies on such an obvious display of sexual objectification?

For others, the impact of the visual medium is a little less than that of a fabricated story. They are of the opinion that item songs have been there forever so they cannot be blamed for any sex-related crimes.

Those who don’t like this kind of stuff should stop watching it.

Defending monetary interests, advocates of freedom of artistic speech forget that when vulgar dance moves from such songs can subliminally affect the mind of a five-year-old – who puts them on display at a friend’s birthday party – then why can’t the motives and meaning of these item songs affect the minds of adults?

Points to ponder, no?

Read more by Ovais here. 

Ovais.Ahmed

Ovais Ahmed Mangalwala

A producer for Express News.

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

  • Imtiaz Farhad

    Most people will disagree but I agree! Our definition of emancipation of women, is nothing more than mujras and item songs. When it comes to equality in education, health and wealth we do not believe in emancipation of women. According to us the more skin a woman shows the more emancipated she is! Recommend

  • Pessimist

    that when vulgar dance moves from such songs can subliminally affect the mind of a five-year-old – who puts them on display at a friend’s birthday party – then why can’t the motives and meaning of these item songs affect the minds of adults?

    If you let five year olds watch these songs in the first place then I think you’re not a very good parent. Btw, I’ve never really understood or even liked item songs. To each their own I guess.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/No.Cruncher.1?ref=tn_tnmn Rationale

    Items songs are nothing but ‘mujras!! and yess they make women nothing but an object of pleasure!!!
    But from producers point of view, these are nothing but an easy way to fill pots of money!!!Recommend

  • BlackJack

    For many, such songs are linked to inciting sexual violence.
    This is your example, a blog on Express Tribune, and that too on a rapper who insults women in his lyrics that has no connection to cinema, item numbers, objectification of women or skimpy clothes? Clearly you didn’t read beyond the title.

    Item numbers may be targeted at intellectually challenged young men, but they don’t go around raping people after seeing it performed on the screen, just like they don’t go and shoot someone after watching a violent film, unless they are predisposed to such violence, sexual or otherwise. However, the fact that women need to be portrayed in such a manner to help drive revenue for a film is unfortunate, and is a reflection of the society that forms the consumer base of said film.Recommend

  • Askance View

    I fully second the view point of writer that this indeed lowers the grace of women, and only for the purpose of cheap publicity. The dying-fame or struggling artist especially women are trying to get a position in such item number songs. There is no relevance of song, theme or situation with the film’s story or scene. This is just for attracting the audience of low mentality.

    Secondly, this is also bringing down a good environment of cinema as vulgarity is seeping into the cinema goers mind.

    I suggest not including such section in the film as it lower down the complete concept of good entertainment, education and awareness.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/896/ayesha-pervez/ Ayesha Pervez

    Ive become more and more averse to vulgar Indian songs and have almost stopped watching them. Recommend

  • Reader

    I have NEVER liked these songs, they portray a woman as a never-to-be-satisfied-hungry-for-sex kind of person. I mean sometimes, the lyrics of these songs AMAZE me to the core. I once heard, “Razia gundo main phas gayi” at a wedding and I was surprised at the kind of things the song talked about.
    For example:
    “Ho isko na sone denge kisika na hone denge kahin ka na chorhenge ise
    Haaa.. Ahein bhi na bharne denge uff bhi na karne denge bolo zara bologe kise”
    Seriously?
    As an advertisement in the Times of India put it perfectly:

    Jumma chumma de de.
    Choli ke peechay kiya hai?
    Sexy, sexy, sexy mujhe log bole.
    You are my chammak challo.
    Tu cheez barhi hai mast mast.
    Aaja meri gaadi main beth jaa.
    Tu hai meri fantasy.
    Munni badnaam huwi, darling tere liye.
    Women are NOT item numbers.
    They are not chikni chamelis.
    They are definitely not fevicol.
    They have not been put on this planet
    for your supreme entertainment or pleasure.
    A woman is not an adjective.
    If you cannot respect a woman
    you are nothing.

    P.S To all the people who’ll snap and say, “Oh let it go it’s just a song”, well these kind of things play a part in shaping the mindset of a society and I’m sorry that you’re way too stupid to notice that. EVERYONE watched television, kids, teenagers, adults, everyone. Recommend

  • Parvez

    I may be wrong but I feel you’re blaming the wrong party, the fault lies within the viewer and not in the ‘item number ‘. Shutting down the ‘ item number ‘ would be the easy way out just like ‘ put a burka on the woman because the man has a dirty mind and can not lower his gaze ‘.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    It sometimes feels like the feminists are out on a prudish rampage alongside the conservatives.

    Sometimes entertainment is just entertainment. Whether it’s Katrina Kaif strutting around in Sheila ki Jawani or Salman Khan dancing shirtless in “O o jane jana”.

    We live in time where music videos and movies are raunchier than ever, coinciding with a time where women are freer than ever.

    If you fear that me watching munni badnam hui video makes me more likely to disrespect or assault a woman, quote a scientific study that proves your claim. Don’t just peddle banal, outdated hypotheses being circulated back from the 20′s.Recommend

  • Working Woman

    @Pessimist: ”If you let five year olds watch these songs in the first place then I think you’re not a very good parent. Btw, I’ve never really understood or even liked item songs. To each their own I guess.

    Really?Does it make one ‘not a good parent’? I work hard to facilitate my child. I have given her a seperate room decorated with toys and an LED T.V. I let her go on birthday parties. How can I make a check about what goes in a birthday party or any dance festival at her school? I can certainly kepp her away from parties but what about school events?Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    I read somewhere that real Freedom is when you can be unpopular and do unpopular things and live. Unpopular from the establishment, society perspective.

    You can’t protest in China, because that would make you unpopular with the Govt.

    A woman can’t drive in Saudia, because that would make her unpopular with the Clergy.

    To the Indian conservative part of the society, its an anathema that women are dancing for sexy numbers and this gets associated with Freedom.

    Of course its not a measurement of freedom for women, but its important to understand why such things happen.

    This tribalistic tendency to restrict women in Burqa or a purda, while the man walks around unhindered. And, should be done with.

    Such things are not suited with India, the land of the Kamasutra. Our temples contain images that might be considered vulgar in all Islamic societies, yet they are temples, this is what Indian culture is all about it – the only culture to celebrate sex and love.

    Do not bring your trivial mindset and calling things vulgar. Rape is vulgar, item songs are stimulants for some, I am guessing. But, that doesn’t excuse crimes against women.

    If Bollywood stops making “vulgar” songs crimes will not stop nor reduce. You have no point and appear to push your ancient mindset over others.Recommend

  • Nitish

    But why did you post your blog here as B-town exist in india.It wont affect bollywood anyway..I will suggest you to put it on TOI and see the verdict.By the way from my side thumbs down for you.We want our society to be lot more freer.A liberal society should be ready to accept anything even kissing and cuddling in public.I wish i would have invited you to visit my college by yesterday.It was all fun on 14th.Though classes were there but after coffee break it all suspended.Djs and dedication of songs…charge went as high as 10000 rs per dedication ,fashion shows ,cafeteria was all full,campus manager had extra work to do as college campus is lush green and there was enough space for hiding,kissing and wishing in open.These all r for real man.If you say that we should stop it too then big no from our side.I just cant digest these hypocritical article.
    “What I don’t understand is how educated actors happily take up the task; why do they put their bodies on such an obvious display of sexual objectification? ”
    I think you guys will never understand meaning of professionalism,that is best answer for you.Any way in india no one takes it seriously.It was a big issue way before 47.What you will do man if i will leave you in goa…..suicide….ha ha ha funnyRecommend

  • Pessimist

    Anoop,

    That has to be the biggest case of nonsense I have ever heard. Like most trolls, you have managed to turn a debate about item songs into another Pak vs India debate. How do you do that? I am impressed! Recommend

  • Nandita.

    @BlackJack:

    For many, such songs are linked to inciting sexual violence.
    This is your example, a blog on Express Tribune, and that too on a rapper who insults women in his lyrics that has no connection to cinema, item numbers, objectification of women or skimpy clothes? Clearly you didn’t read beyond the title.

    That blog on Honey Singh is not the author’s example. I think this kind of linking is done by the editors @ET , not by the bloggers. I doubt Bloggers are consulted while deciding which articles are to be linked to their write up.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    Loneliberal PK : Good comment.Recommend

  • Working Woman

    @Nandita @Loneliberal PK : Good comment.
    There is another way of doing this . ‘Recommend’Recommend

  • http://na sandy

    emancipation is about letting a woman be a person.

    There was no talk of banning austrians from speaking in public or participating in political life just because of the havoc hitler caused.

    When women are finally treated like persons, you will realise there is enough bad in them as there is good. and we should go about criticising the individual without bringing morality and 5-year-old birthday boys into the argument.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    @Working Woman:

    I wanted to write to him. I don’t see why that should bother others. Recommend

  • Nobody

    Personally, I don’t think people who watch these songs all of a sudden go around raping people, BUT that being said, I hate these songs. They don’t do ANYTHING for women except make an object out of them. No other purpose whatsoever. I would imagine an educated healthy mind wouldn’t be affected by this drivel, but can’t say the same for everyone, particulrly impressionable minds. Families take their kids to see Indian movies since Bollywood has yet to introduce a rating system, and I’m not sure I’d be crazy about a kid watching some of the content, but it’s not always under a parent’s control.
    I’m a liberal person and I hate bringing up a person’s clothes, but I can’t deny the link between clothing and the way people perceive you. And that applies to men and women. I don’t think it’s any different whether it’s salman khan taking his shirt off any excuse he gets, or katrina kaif gyrating as sheila. It’s cheap. However, some people find them entertaining. Banning these things is useless as well. I don’t like them, so I don’t watch them. I don’t watch Indian movies anymore period to be honest. Storylines are redundant and women are not much more than decoration pieces except for a handful here and there.
    But linking these sleazy songs to rape and sexual violence is a bit of a stretch. If a person is a sexual deviant or a rapist, they’re going to rape no matter what. If they’re not, they won’t. Period. The average normal man with any respect for women does not become a crazy rapist because he sees this garbage. It’s the same argument as the one used here in the states: violent video games make serial killers. So now after gunning down said number of people, a person can use the ‘grand theft auto made me do it’ defense and plead insanity. What next? A rapist can say sheila munni and chikni chameli made me do it…? Ridiculous in my opinion. Recommend

  • BlackJack

    @Nandita.:
    That blog on Honey Singh is not the author’s example.
    If so, then this blog has no example to support this assumption – For many, such songs are linked to inciting sexual violence that he blames on ‘many’ other people without letting us know how many is many, whether they are qualified to give an opinion on the subject, or if they are just a bunch of kup manduks who think that if less of a woman is visible, she has less of a chance to come to harm, despite all evidence to the contrary.
    For those unfamiliar with the term, kup manduk is Sanskrit for frog in the well.Recommend

  • http://www.ovaismangalwala.info Ovais Ahmed Mangalwala

    Indian Censor board bans item songs from being aired on TV. Check the news.
    http://www.indianexpress.com/comments/item-songs-to-be-barred-from-tv/1071182/
    Is it the right move? If yes, should we follow?Recommend

  • Nandita.

    @BlackJack:

    I haven’t written the blog BlackJack and I do not agree with the author. You should ask him why he said the things he did. All I am saying is that the linking to other ET articles is done by the editor and the team @ET , not by the bloggersRecommend

  • stop watching our movies

    bollywood is indian film industry..Recommend

  • Critical

    If you think Bollywood is showing vulgarity in item songs

    Please explain how “halal” is “Belly Dancing” which has performed in Arabia for several centuries???Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Indian films are vulgar. A great benefit of banning YouTube has been that at least one means of Pakistani children being exposed to this vulgarity has been curbed.Recommend

  • Midhat

    @Nitish:

    I Think you are obviously confusing objectification with liberaion and freedom. A woman walking in a bikini on a beach is her will and thats her freedom. A woman MADE to do that for commercial gains, and/or males desires is objectification.
    An example, James Bond franchise movies were highly critised in US for objectifying women so they had to change the trend by showing inteligent , skilled agents instead of just naked dumb girls, Similary 50 censt and others have recieved their share of blame and the pop culture has changed considerably in the West. It time we in east also learn something. Recommend

  • Fiza

    I completely agree with Nobody

    I think there is a fine line between vulgarity and liberalism. I fail to understand why these well-established actors need to retort to such cheap publicity tactics.

    However, before we point fingers, lets not forget our own film industry and even a mere song showing lovers dancing in a park has such lecherous and vulgar moves that the vulgarity in Indian item songs pale in comparison. Recommend

  • Omer

    What is the purpose of writing is shi**tRecommend

  • Fiza

    I completely agree with Nobody

    I think there is a fine line between vulgarity and liberalism. I fail to understand why these well-established actors need to retort to such cheap publicity tactics.

    However, before we point fingers, lets not forget our own film industry and even a mere song showing lovers dancing in a park has such lecherous and vulgar moves that the vulgarity in Indian item songs pales in comparison. Recommend

  • http://www.yahoo.com Noko

    This bloody indian film industry has penetrated and destroyed our culture!Recommend

  • http://gujrat RAW is WAR

    rubbishRecommend

  • Ahmed Zaidi

    Agreed. But TV is becoming obsolete anyways and Youtube is still under curbs!!! Recommend

  • rehmat

    “The trend continued in the 50s with hits like Main kaa karoon Ram mujhey Buddha mil gaya and Honton pe aisi baat. These were songs with all the characteristics of a good item number except one – they were not cheesy.
    In the 60s, the situation began to change when sexual themes were introduced in item songs. Aa jaane-jaan, piya tu ab to aaja and Raat baaqi were called trendsetters in such content.

    The songs – Main Kaa Karoon Raam (1964), Hoton pe aisi baat (1967) and Aa Jaanejaan (1969) are all from the 1960s – none of them is from the 50s. Raat baaki is from 1982 (definiely not the 60s. A little fact checking would have helped.
    BTW in this century also, there have been item songs where the lyrics maybe sensuous but not cheap at all : Kajraare kajraare tere kaare kaare naina, Beedi jalaile, namak Ishq ka . In any case India has a censor board who determines if a mvie should be rated U, UA or A. As long as TV channels exercise some control over telecasting some of the more raunchy songs after say 10:00 , it should be fine. Just because some parents do a poor job of supervising their kids, hardly means that all other adults should be treated as though they were kids too.

    “For many, such songs are linked to inciting sexual violence.”

    Where is the evidence? By the way the link you provided refers to a person who glorified rape in a song and rape is definitely sexual violence. I don’t think any of these songs do that at all.

    *@Loneliberal PK: “It sometimes feels like the feminists are out on a prudish rampage alongside the conservatives. Sometimes entertainment is just entertainment. “*

    Agree with one part : sometimes entertanment is just entertainment. Not sure what is your source for saying that clamping down on item numbers is a feminist agenda. When a college in India gave guidelines for the femal students to wdress more traditionallyt to preserve their own respect, it is the feminists that priotested that this was a needless curb on women’s freedom. When after the Delhi gangrape a Haryana khap panchayat came out with rules that women should stop wearing jeans in their town, feminists went to the court and got the the khap panchayat ruling scrapped.

    Honestly, as a staunch feminist, I feel more annoyed by the Fair and Lovely type advertisements that imply that a woman’s complexion is the sole basis of her identity.Recommend

  • Super Star

    Do Pakistanis like Veena Maliks item numbers in bollywood? After she is “their own” girl.Recommend

  • Sane

    @Ayesha Pervez:

    Ive become more and more averse to vulgar Indian songs and have almost stopped watching them.

    Right opinion and correct action. Others must follow.Recommend

  • Nitish

    @Midhat:
    I Think you are obviously confusing objectification with liberaion and freedom. A woman walking in a bikini on a beach is her will and thats her freedom. A woman MADE to do that for commercial gains, and/or males desires is objectification
    What you call objectification is professionalism in india.We have huge modelling industry running side by side bollywood.Whatever sells is being sold but at the same time decency and modesty is maintained up-to an acceptable norms.That norm is set by our society and that is pretty acceptable to us.Lets face it a cheerleader will always be a girl.Bra and bikinis r always advertised by a woman.Similarly Air hostess will always be a women.Many 5 star hotels now employ female attendant just to meet the international standard . Can we employ man for these jobs ?No not all.My point is that there r certain fields which r reserved only for women.Men have no place there. my question to you,if you can watch women freely walking in a bikini on beach then what is all fuss about watching them in bikini on TV screen for a minute?Isn’t it sound hypocritical from your side .Though Watching it as a person on the beech can be more provocative then watching it on TV screen for a minute or so.Why not it is an objectification and vulgarity according to your definition?If it is,I rest my case here.
    In addition to that,India is conservative as well as liberal.Many gilrs dont like these challenging profession,so thats Fine.They have plenty of typical jobs in other field like IT sectors,govt jobs,private business and firms .As a liberal society we should have total acceptance for women excelling in other field as well.Banning item songs will raise eyebrows on many other sectors where girls r specially employed to attract customer,.For ex after delhi gang rape many girls refuse to do the job in the night shift hampering many BPOs.Their net profit reduced as they lost many consignments in the process.This became matter of concern not only for them but for govt as well.

    An example, James Bond franchise movies were highly critised in US for objectifying women so they had to change the trend by showing inteligent , skilled agents instead of just naked dumb girls, Similary 50 censt and others have recieved their share of blame and the pop culture has changed considerably in the West. It time we in east also learn something.
    Cool down indian film industry didnt reach upto the level of james bond.The day it will reach,obviously we will discuss then.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    @Pessimist:

    The best possible comeback is to remind you that I live in India, while you probably get to live in Pakistan.

    Is there a greater burn than this? Recommend

  • shahida kazi

    One thing that everyone seems to be forgetting is the role of the women who are doing these numbers..They are doing it vouluntarily ,of their own choice so they cannot be called victims.Besides the dancers,the singers and the choreographers are also for the most part women.And it is no secret that they are doing it for the money, they are selling their best assets.So its a buyers market and as long as we continue to buy they will continue to sell.Neither feminism nor exploitation has anything to do with it.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Dear Shahida, it would certainly appear that you are right. Women appear to engage in such demeaning acts ‘voluntarily’. What we fail to see is the constant onslaught of vulgar messages with which women’s minds and souls are bombarded from the moment of their birth. The process of brainwashing is ceaseless. The best part of Islam and Islamic societies is for women – women are never so badly assaulted, hence do not ‘volunteer’ to sell their body and soul in the ‘market’ as you mentioned. I can say without hesitation that it is Pakistan’s misfortune that it has to exist next to a country where vulgarity is so highly prized. No wonder we hear of so many rapes by frustrated Indian men who believe every woman is ‘for sale’.Recommend

  • Nobody

    @stop watching our movies:
    Gee, thanks for the newsflash. Enlighten us some more please. Recommend

  • Siddiqui

    @All: ohh i hate these kind of songs, movies, dramas, and shows that are aired daily specially the morning shows. i wish i could do some magic and stop these demoralizing things once and for all. i just can’t find words to say against all this crappy stuff. anyways friends, please excuse me now as i have to go atrium-karachi to watch “Race2″. shandaar numaish jari hai. bara maza ayega.Recommend

  • Pessimist

    Anoop
    @Pessimist:
    The best possible comeback is to remind you that I live in India, while you probably get to live in Pakistan.
    Is there a greater burn than this?

    That has to be the worst possible comeback. I have not been living in Pakistan for the past four years or so, but I understand your point.
    What does give me some satisfaction is that you are clearly obsessed with Pakistan. In spite of living (as per you) in a better country, you still visit a Pakistani newspaper (God knows why Tribune is popular in India, it’s hardly popular here), make your silly comments and feel good about yourself.
    The fact that you need to mindlessly criticise a country to make yourself feel better tells a lot about you.

    Noko
    This bloody indian film industry has penetrated and destroyed our culture!

    For the love of God, why do people think this film industry is ruining us. If anything, it’s our fascination with the Arab culture which is ruining us. Read about Pakistan before Zia ruined us, you’d be surprised and what a relatively good place it was. Recommend

  • Unknown

    Plz don’t say that these actresses are educated they are by NO means educated Most of them enter in the industry in their teens! They just have the art of talking.Recommend

  • gp65

    @kaalchakra:
    Glad you are concerned about rapes that occur in India. Sad that you are clueless about what happens in your own backyard. Apart from laws of evidence on rape that suppress reporting, you probably are not aware about the Fashion shows that happen in Pakistan or the Pushto movies. BTW what are your views on belly dancing in your brotherly Arab countries”Recommend

  • http://uptonogood.tumblr.com Red

    @Loneliberal PK: “It sometimes feels like the feminists are out on a prudish rampage alongside the conservatives. Sometimes entertainment is just entertainment.”

    I suppose you could tell from the author’s name that he is a feminist? That’s quite a trick. Recommend

  • shiza riaz memon

    Item songs have a negative power to change young peoples’ mindset. They think it’s just a normal thing but actually it’s not. This is not we relate to and will never relate to.These item songs should be shut in our country. Initiative must be taken by people.Recommend

  • http://[email protected] shiza riaz memon

    These item numbers have a negative power to penetrate into the minds of young people. They think that this kind of vulgarity is a normal thing but it is not.
    I mean these songs like “jumma chumma dayday” “sheela ki jawani” and whatever jawani, what are they trying to tell us that women in their country are tagged with such disrespect ??
    These item numbers or I should say disrepectfulness of women should be shut. We do not relate to this culture and will never relate too as well.Recommend

  • No name

    OMG this article is against women they have the right to ……………. (censored)

    (This is what so called liberals will think ) :pRecommend

  • Chulbul Pandey

    @Author:

    Some of my mates here in US are always looking for flashy bollywood item numbers for dance and music. I can recommend them “Sexy sexy sexy mujhe log bolein”, thanks to you as I had forgotten about it :-D Hack, I will watch it myself.

    And no, it does not make us treat women in any wrong manner. It is just entertainment for us..

    Sincerely!Recommend

  • Pessimist

    Red
    @Loneliberal PK: “It sometimes feels like the feminists are out on a prudish rampage alongside the conservatives. Sometimes entertainment is just entertainment.”
    I suppose you could tell from the author’s name that he is a feminist? That’s quite a trick.

    He was implying that the author is a conservative you numpty. Recommend

  • http://uptonogood.tumblr.com Red

    Pessimist: “He was implying that the author is a conservative you numpty.”

    In that case, his comment makes no sense at all. The sentence is structured in a way that implies that he is talking about the author. If he wanted to say what you seem to think, the proper sentence structure would have been “It sometimes feels like the conservatives are out on a prudish rampage alongside the feminists”. That focuses more on “conservatives” and links it to the “feminists” who are supposedly all prudish (which is probably why they organize all those Slut Walks and defend choice so much). In any case, I fail to see why feminists are in the sentence at all, especially since he claims to be one himself. But I’m sure he can take care of responses to his comments himself, don’t you? Recommend

  • Sudheer

    A society like Pakistan shouldn’t be concerned about whether Bollywood item numbers objectify women or not, they should be more worried about prevailing Mullah mentality in their society, which is hell bent upon reducing status of women to that of cattle. Whenever I see a photograph or a tv report on Afghanistan or parts of Pakistan, where women were shown donning huge shuttle cock burqas and cramped in vans or pick trucks like cattle, I feel pity for them.
    Therefore, trivial issues such as ‘Sheela ki jawani’, or Munni badnam hui’ etc. are relatively harmless and deserve to be ignored. If someone thinks that these item number instigate men to rape, then he/she is ignorant and needs education. Scientific studies have shown that even pornography doesn’t promote violence against women. Rape is not an act of sex, it’s an act of violence, a release of suppressed anger. Studies done on rapists have shown that a vast majority of them had a traumatic childhood or suffered humiliation and violence in the past. This is a complicated subject and only a shrink can explain it. All that I want say is erotic dances, songs etc. are in no way connected to the violence against women.
    In a society where women are struggling to retain whatever freedom left with them, a feminist protest (which this blog represents) over objectification of women in Bollywood item numbers, looks ridiculous to me. Recommend

  • gp65

    @Pessimist: I read the sentence in the exact same way as ‘Red’ i.e. @Loneliberal was implying that the author was a feminist who along with conservatives was trying to register his protest against item numbers. It looks like @Red and I are not the only people who read it that way, @Rehmat also made the same point.

    Also frankly I was surprised that he was referring to feminists in the 3rd person since my impression on reading his other posts is that he is a feminist himself.

    @Sudheer, I did not see a feminist protest on objectification of women. I saw this as ethe general rant against vulgar Bollywood culture of Hindu India by the pure Muslim.
    Read @kaalchakra’s statement, it reinforces the same idea. If you see the author’s past blogs, you will come across the ongoing theme about how Islam alone knows how to respect women and no other culture seems to do it as well.Recommend

  • BigotNot

    @Ayesha Pervez:
    ” Ive become more and more averse to vulgar Indian songs and have almost stopped watching them.”

    What about vulgar Pakistani mujras which are worse? You still watch them?Recommend

  • BigotNot

    The authors mentality of not putting the blame where it belongs is typical. Why blame these songs(I agree they are vulgar) for degradation of woman instead of the person who does it? The same type of primitive rationalization is made for making woman wear niqabs. Instead of blaming the man for not having control over emotions, take the woman’s freedom away by putting them in niqabs.Recommend

  • http://tribune.com p r sharma

    Every society has its own societal values and based upon these values you try to judge the activities (as perceived). and reach a judgement.
    When the parameters are different the judgements too obviously will be different..
    Thereafter the usual battle in asserting that mine( values) is better/ advanced than that of yours. Recommend

  • Sudheer

    @gp65
    Well, dear lady, I had no idea about the author’s past blogs or her proximity to the obscurantist ideology and therefore I just reacted to her present writing in its own content and context. However, I agree that her writeup might have been a product of a conservative mindset, but, certainly, I took her thoughts as an angry liberal woman’s diatribe against making women an object of sex and I tried to redirect her anger to the more pressing issues related to women, in her own country.
    Anyway, thanks for caring to read my comment and of course responding to it.Recommend

  • gp65

    ET: Responding to an email directed to me – pls. allow.

    @Sudheer: The author is a man not a woman, I guess you saw Priyanka’s picture and did not pay attention the author’s photo or name. OFcourse you may not have been aware of his past blogs and approach- which is why I gave you that background. My feeling is that author is the kind of man who believes in blame the victim mindset e.g. ‘Women should cover up so that men are not tempted’. Here is an example of his prior blog. http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/15067/women-are-not-treated-as-ladies-even-in-developed-countries/
    Of course my opinion may be wrong and you maybe right since we can only guess – but read and judge for yourself.
    Cheers.

    P.S. I read all your comments since I find you tend to be fairly level headed.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Nobody:
    Bollywood does have a rating system and cinema halls in India strictly adhere to it. The 3 grades are U, UA, A where U stands for universal and A for adult. Movies rated A are not allowed on TV. Only thing is upto now the songs themselves were not rated and hence a raunchy song in a UA movie could be shown on TV. This issue is being rethought in India.Recommend

  • Sudheer

    @gp65
    I am sorry, I didn’t check author’s identity, my apologies. I think I should also explain the reasons. First, I get little free time to read or write. Whatever free time I get, I try to utilize it to the maximum level. If you have little time, you would choose the right pieces of reports or articles for reading and I select them on the basis of headlines or on the basis of the name of the author. This makes me read all well known authors and reports having headlines of my interest. Even in the comment section, a cyber name such as gp65, automatically stops me, and makes me read her and let me inform you that, she always proved perfectly worthy of my time.
    This is how I made a mistake of not checking the author’s identity. There is another reason for my assuming author as woman. Usually, at least in India, men seldom protest against objectification of women, the job is left to feminist activists or advocates of women’s rights, who usually happen to be women. (Please, let me clarify that I am not against feminists or feminism, their demands and protests on various women related issues are totally justified.) In short, the way the blog was written on a feminine issue, I inadvertently mistook the author for a woman. I should’ve remembered that I was on a Pakistani forum, where not just women themselves, but, even the issues related to them too, fall under the sole domain of men!
    Anyway, after reading the link provided by you, I now got the total picture. Thanks again for correcting me and also for your kind words. Recommend

  • Black Widow

    @Loneliberal PK:
    Living in a bubble…..& it won’t pop in this world ! Recommend

  • Someone

    @Anoop:
    Sorry to burst your giddy, borderline elementary bubble, but that’s not a burn. Only a person with an identity crisis or a self loathing personality would perceive that as a “burn” but nice try. Pakistan is what it is. And it’s still home. Ciao. Recommend

  • Nobody

    @gp65:
    I see. Thanks for the explanation. I think a more detailed description of what to expect is necessary now that story lines are straying from the usual PG love stories of the pre-2000′s. I don’t know about India, but I know for sure theater goers in the US ignore the ratings for Indian flicks (although these are usually predominantly desi owned cinemas so go figure, the rules are dismissed) and I see little kids time and time again at Indian flicks that shouldn’t have kids in the audience. The item songs are usually where the problem is in my opinion. The story lines are not usually overtly vulgar, and the presence of sex is not as prevalent or blunt as it is elsewhere, but the item song starts and boom, it’s a different world. While I disagree with the way women are portrayed, adults can choose to watch whatever and I’m not a purist tbh. But even then, not sure I’m comfortable with a little kid watching a couple gyrate their way through a catchy song. Recommend

  • gp65

    @Nobody: Yes. The raunchy songs in an otherwise family oriented story is an anomaly that is being discussed by the Indian censor board in terms of how to address it for
    a) The cinema halls in India
    b) TV in India

    The fact that US and other countries cinema halls are not familiar and hence do nothonour the rating system of Indian board is probably not an issue that will be resolved in short term. But perhaps as Bollywoo becomes more mainsteam, there will be a demand for the cinema owners to implement that locally. Recommend