We do not need ‘billis’ to flaunt our ‘jawani’ in Lollywood

Published: March 30, 2015

You don’t have to be a conservative to understand why an item number is offensive and insulting to a woman.

After successfully objectifying women in the ‘100 glorious years of Indian cinema’, Bollywood now recognises its part in influencing commoners, what till now has been ‘a bad influence’. It took Bollywood God knows how many Jyoti Singhs to realise what a mess their sexist approach in cinema has caused in populous India.

I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry that our neighbours are in trouble; our fellow women are not safe. But at the moment, I’m more concerned about how all this affects Pakistan. Our cinema is going through an interesting phase of its revival, but the same sexist approach has come to trouble us too. Recent series of item numbers in almost every newly released and upcoming Lollywood movie are examples of this approach. You don’t have to be a conservative to understand why an item number is offensive and insulting to a woman.

It offends me because:

1. We, women, are not ‘items’ or ‘objects’; we are as human as any gender.

2. Women are not Munnis or Sheilas or Billis (their Pakistani counterpart).

3. Women are not “gutka (tobacco) available for chewing”.

4. We do not go around flaunting our “jawan (young) bodies”.

I am a liberal who defended Humaima Malick’s right to do the song Namak Paare – because it fitted the role of a bar dancer – as much as I defended Fawad Khan’s right to do a shirtless scene in Khoobsurat. I love Sonam Kapoor and Vidya Balan for their choice of women-centric films, like Dirty Picture. But the makers of unnecessary item numbers are those ‘hypocrite liberals’ who never consider us women as equal to them and use women as ‘objects’ to attract audiences. Some recent examples are the item songs in Pakistani movies Karachi se LahoreJalaibee and the not too old, Na Maloom Afraad.

Karachi se Lahore released its teaser on March 21, 2015. What is sad and sickening is that the 14-second teaser only includes glimpses of Ayesha Omar as an item girl and ends with the title poster of the film.

What a great way to tease the crowd… Right?

It seems that the purpose of the teaser was to tell the world that Bulbulay’s Khoobsurat has a bellybutton too.

Jalaibee, on the other hand, can be defended by the fact that they showed decent clothing in an item song. Recently, Pakistani heartthrob Hamza Ali Abbasi was quoted as saying:

“I am tremendously proud of Zhalay Sarhadi for not taking her clothes off in her performance in the film. Proud of Yasir Jaswal for not going along with the emerging trend of revealing ‘item numbers’ in Pakistan films.”

But let me put this in plain words for all those people out there whose primary focus remains women’s clothing. An appropriate choice of clothing does not cover for a woman made to flaunt her ‘jawani’. The problem here is not the clothes but the portrayal of a woman of Pakistani society, who is seen dancing, while being ogled by men, to lyrics such as:

“Tere aangan mein hi chamke gi meri ye shookh jawani”

(Only in your backyard will my enticing youth shine)

Have they ever tried to tease the audience by releasing a teaser where a man is seen ‘revealing’ his body while being ogled by women? Can’t even imagine that, can you? That’s probably because it is women who are born to entertain men, be it in a marriage or a bar – not the other way around.

To clarify my stance, I’m not against our movies covering taboo issues; I appreciate how themes like sexual abuse and racism, which are rather neglected in the much open-minded neighbouring India, are successfully addressed in our society via movies and dramas. But while our drama industry is praised across the border for showing the strength of womanhood, our film industry is keen on copying Bollywood’s sexist approach to women, for reasons unknown.

Despite my disagreement with Abbasi’s stance on Sarhadi’s song, I am proud of the Pyare Afzal star simply because he admitted to romancing ‘with women in bikinis in an upcoming comedy film’ and pledged to ‘never to do it again’ for it is against our culture and values.

Music and art are a reflection of a society’s traditions and values, and currently, our songs portray a woman’s image as:

“Gutka main hun chaba le, Baaja main hun baja”

(Chew me as I am tobacco and blow me as I am a trumpet)

Somebody please explain to me, when and how did such item numbers become a necessity for our society, our cinema? Are we not done copying Bollywood yet? Aren’t Bollywood item songs linked to increasing ‘rape culture’ in India?

Namrata Joshi, a senior associate editor at Outlook India, talks about the choreography of item songs in these words,

“The choreography is similar across most (item) songs: one semi-clad women getting leered at by several men, being objectified for the consumption of men and talked of as some kind of dish.”

Feminist and gender activist, Kamla Bhasin, says,

“It (item song) is an unequal sexuality, where one is the subject and the other, the object. The woman is naked, the man fully dressed. There is no mutuality. The woman sells and the man consumes.”

Is this what we are choosing for our society too?

For the love of God, spare us!

I am a Pakistani woman and I am not a gutka available for chewing.

After Bol and Waar, we all have high hopes from Lollywood. A woman does not always have to be ‘the glamour’ and the hero’s love interest in a movie. There is much more to a woman than that and there is a lot more that women can do. India has realised this and item songs, that are great career boosters for actresses, are now being frowned upon. First it was Ayesha Takia, then Kareena Kapoor and now it’s Kangana Ranaut among the B-town beauties who have reportedly rejected offers of item numbers.

I agree with the idea that a movie does not always have to be a dark and depressing like Bol, but since when does colourful and fun mean an exposed woman? I really thought our Pakistani industry had that elegance and class that would provide women a well-deserved place in our industry.

If you still don’t understand why the recent trend of item numbers in Pakistani cinema should offend you as a woman, watch this video.

Shumaila Hussain Shahani

Shumaila Hussain Shahani

The author is a writer, movie buff, aspiring world traveler, humanist and rebel at heart. She tweets as @ShahaniSays (twitter.com/ShahaniSays)

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

  • Khalid

    I fail to understand exactly what revival Pakistan has experienced? If you call simply making movies a revival then you are sorely mistaken. Thing is that in order for Pakistan to truly experience a cinematic revival they need real film-makers, people with vision who can tell interesting, engaging and original stories. Studios should look to give more attention to indie filmmakers rather than concentrating on big-budget movies that have more style than substance. Jalaibee was an example of this and the little substance it did have was all recycled and cleverly ripped-off from Guy Ritchie’s Rock N’ Rolla.

    Since this so called revival, Waar is the only good film to come out of Pakistan. So please Lollywood stop making crap like Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, try making good, original films that say something about our society and please distance yourself from Bollywood movies and their cheap trends, make your own identity.Recommend

  • zfatima

    excellent article! in an age where we struggle to find equality for women, our media has started showing them as objects in market who are ready to be bought by on lookers.Recommend

  • Khalid Majeed

    Nicely written. All these thoughts was coming in my mind when I watched trailers of these movies. This is already in western societies that a man wear suite with tie and fully covered where as women where skirts. Man of this world created these standards just to amuse them self in every place. Women should try to understand the meanings of independence and rights 1st. A women should wear what ever but think that what any fashion affect and don’t treat themselves as commodities.Recommend

  • Hina

    totally agree with you 100%. I hope Pakistani directors read this and change their waysRecommend

  • Midhat

    Finally a sane explanation. There were these so called liberals bashing Abbasi for his views against the item songs, as if an item song defines progressiveness. We are going back in the wrong direction by having women dance to please men further objectifying themselves in an already patriarchal society. As an educated liberal woman, I find these billi , Sheela and Munnies flaunting their bodies to some ogling dirty eyes absolutely disgusting , offensive and degrading. An educated girl like Ayesha Omer should have known better!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Just a thought….if violence in cinema and comic books was responsible for violence in society then Japan would be a violent society….. but it is the opposite.
    I feel that blaming risque cinema for societal ills…….is the easy way out. It could be a catalyst to the chemistry but it certainly is not the base compounds that sparks the chemical reaction resulting in crimes etc.Recommend

  • lilo

    Most of these movies are no longer Lollywood productions, most production studios are now based Karachi, so calling it Lollywood isn’t correct.Recommend

  • Hammad Hasan Syed

    To be Honest Even Waar Wasn’t a Good Film :PRecommend

  • SadafI

    Well said Recommend

  • islooboy

    Well the films they want to make are the films people want to watchRecommend

  • hinna naveed

    Good one.before making any item song we should atleast think once that we are muslims n then pakistanis n this kind of things doesn’t match our culture..if we can make a movie like waar with which they had a wonderful experience of packed cinemas n earned alot we can make more without an item number n anyother exposure of women in any way..
    Recommend

  • Vegetable Man

    What we need is proper education so we can all become ethical perverts…Recommend

  • Ali Imran Xaidi

    Very true Mr. Khalid….. agreed…Recommend

  • AK

    loved it! been waiting for a sane voice! Thank YOU!

    Its about time that producers and directors learn to see the difference between elegance/class and vulgarityRecommend

  • Danya

    probably we are going backwards to the old era of lolly wood movies where dance was only the prominent elementRecommend

  • L.

    Completely agree. Men have no right to tell a woman wear. In this over sexualised day and age, women should be given free will to cover herself without the pressures of society. They should be respected for who they are from the inside: their talents, their intelligence should be praised, NOT their beauty.

    And then so called “feminists” walk around naked in the city to show that they “cannot and will not be subjugated to mere objects for the opposite sex”; what they don’t realise is that that’s exactly what men want. -.- Recommend

  • L.

    I support your theory that “item numbers” are not necessarily the ultimate reason for whatever happens in india; it’s imbedded into the cultural fabric of South Asia almost. Women have always been told to “stay quite if they experience harrassment”- thus giving power to the men in the name of “Izzat”. It’s been going on for centuries and that’s why it’s so hard to grow people out of it.

    But I also do think that seeing the objectification of women in what appears to be in like every second indian film (judging by review articles on ET) DOES have a strong influence on the minds of the youngins who may be being taught to respect the fairer sex at home, at school, everywhere else- but when they turn the TV on and they see “stars” they follow, do exactly the opposite, SOME may just put that above everything else! Recommend

  • Xen

    now you will be labeled as extremist, narrow minded and conservative. been there, done that :(…Recommend

  • Nazar

    Word!Recommend

  • islooboy

    The cinematics were niceRecommend

  • Faiza Qureshi

    Finally a voice of reason as opposed to misplaced feminism! Thank you Shumaila for a well thought out read – I am totally going viral with this!Recommend

  • pk

    Author ” I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry that our neighbours are in trouble.” This is getting really funny now. A citizen of a country who is fighting an existential war is more concerned about a country who unanimously considered a engine of world growth. Our sincere advice is keep this sympathy for yourself as no doubt you need it more.Recommend

  • Milind A

    “Just a thought….if violence in cinema and comic books was responsible
    for violence in society then Japan would be a violent society….. but
    it is the opposite.”
    Who knows… Its quite possible the Japanese **are** a violent society as borne by their past excesses in China and WWII. Its quite possible that cinema and comic books **are** fueling this violence in the Japanese….
    The only reason why the Japanese are not overtly violent as us, could be because they have the discipline, temperament and wherewithal (solid work ethic) to channelize their violent energies into work… This shows in the way they deal with competition (without emotionalism) aggressively…Recommend

  • Nashmia

    Somewhere between wanting to become ‘liberal’ and avoiding the ‘conservative’ tag, Pakistanis have lost their culture.Recommend

  • Smr Khan

    its pathetic,these crappy songs would ruin our countryRecommend

  • Waleed Khan

    there are some people in our industry who are focusing on that old era of dance but most of them disagree with item numbersRecommend

  • Sadia Faysal

    This is just so true…..we need to understand our boundaries as Muslims. This understanding alone can solve all our problems.Recommend

  • Milind A

    That’s a valid point… But if we look at Bollywood objectively, the movies churned out by it are crap as well. These are made for mass consumption and are only successful in keeping the public riveted due to high drama, sensationalism, filmy effects.
    These are mostly plagiarised, low on quality stories, quality music/lyrics – a pathetic figure of the yesteryears when actual skills – direction, acting & music, made up for poor cinematography and effect.
    So there’s no revival in Bollywood as well..Recommend

  • Prashant

    ” Aren’t Bollywood item songs linked to increasing ‘rape culture’ in India?”

    I knew the author would eventually come to this, who told you that the item numbers are making Indians rapists, the rapes happened before and unfortunately will happen again unless the mindsets are changed, the mindsets which existed much before the item numbers came into picture.

    I am a liberal who defended Humaima Malick’s right to do the song Namak Paare – because it fitted the role of a bar dancer – as much as I defended Fawad Khan’s right to do a shirtless scene in Khoobsurat.”

    You can’t seriously expect people to come to you for consultations before making a movie.

    “which are rather neglected in the much open-minded neighbouring India”

    You are one of those who will watch a good Indian movie but will forget to mention it when asked for a list of good movies.Recommend

  • Doc

    Hats off to the author, keep up the good work… Recommend

  • Uzair

    But I thought women should be liberated in every way possible. What about the progressive ideals about individual liberty? Didn’t we criticize the ‘mullahs’ for moral policing and all? If no one is allowed to tell anyone about haram, halaal, etc. , then who decides what’s vulgarity and what is not? I am confused…Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Yes, the japs, Chinese and also the filipinos have an amazing work ethic. Recommend

  • Huma Habib

    Well said. Great article!! Love it … Keep it up!
    We should be proud of our dramas and movies. Don’t we realize that by looking at US, Bollywood started luring our actors and actresses to their industry.
    We should be setting up a good example for ourselves rather than stooping DOWN to Bollywood’s level.Recommend

  • Fraaz Khan

    Bingo ! Snatch my words on this topic.
    I was never able to understand the concept behind these cheep, vulgar lyrics and choreography on the item songs.
    It feels sick how women portray themselves or being portrayed.Recommend

  • sumair khan

    Since when liberalism becomes tool of self righteousness that demands curtailing other rights and freedom of choice, isn’t it downright sexist and insulting to judge others on their clothing, because they don’t fit your standards and sense of morality? if we take this hypothesis and apply on your logical fallacy then all those woman who wear bikini by choice and roaming semi naked out there must be immoral, objectifying and downright insulting to all feminists! i don’t know why pakistani confuse liberation with nudity and vulgarity! lets don’t pretend nudity, sex , kissing does not exist, deprived off and divorced totally from the world because its a need of every mankind, moreover adult entertainment is offshore of every film industry which gets tremendous gains that cant be separated hence the line should be drawn to contain and regulate the content for both adults and children just like it happens all over the world, imposing bans, slut shaming and going moral crusade on certain kind of taboos and form of adult entertainment is not the solution because humans aren’t puritans and perfect.Recommend

  • taify

    objectifying women is wrong but stop blaming item numbers for that, and who said that they do not show men flautning their body? SRK’s dard e disco was highlighted due to his abs, then joHN abraham in dostana, ranbir in saawariya and hrithik in bang bang. They show what sells!Recommend

  • reoky

    why does women become gutka then like Aisha umer & Mehwish hayat? Dont you think its women’s responsibility to deny such roles in movies.Recommend

  • usman

    What I like most about this article is that it is well referenced. Well written too.Recommend

  • Khalid

    Thats because Bollywood doesnt need a revival. Their film industry never experienced a slump, rather their film industry has been growing according to their economy. I dont watch Bollywood films but from what i’ve heard they manage to make 3-5 genuinely good films every year, thing is when you’re making 100-150 films a year something good is bound to come out.Recommend

  • Shameel Faraz

    all your points are completely valid, agreed with all of them Recommend

  • abhi

    I think lot of debate has happened on this and frankly speaking there is no evidence that rape happenes because of item numbers in movie. If that was the reason rapes wouldn’t have happened in olden times and women would have been roaming alone freely in night without fearing their safty in olden times.Recommend

  • Uzair

    Exactly. Proper education can help us articulate the concept of ‘vulgarity’ in a way that no behavior can be termed a pervert or immodest. I wonder which liberal arts college should I enroll in to educate myself?Recommend

  • Parvez

    I appreciate where you’re coming from but……
    The example you quote is in respect to WAR…….when a nation is at war circumstances change and the ‘ martial race ‘ syndrome kicks in. Here the topic is societal violence…..two different things.Recommend

  • noorie

    true, i really hope this new trend doesn’t stay. Movies like Waar and Moor, comedy, romance etc with good substance should become our OWN identity. Why do we need to copy others by promoting films through item numbers, or rather.. our women! We should promote it by merely showing our talent in a respectable way,Recommend

  • Parvez

    We both seem to on the same page…….except you think that movies have a bigger role to play in all this and I think they have a smaller role to play. Also keep in mind a movie is a business venture and it is dictated by ‘ market forces ‘ and entertainment value…..for morals, ethics etc you have documentaries, art movies and the like.
    You have made a snap judgement of ‘ item numbers ‘ in Indian movies from reviews in ET…..that’s dicey.Recommend

  • Hunzala Rajput

    A very meaningful blog, I reckon if we really want to revive our film industry then we gotta make meaningful movies because I don’t think the huge amount of upcoming educated young individuals want to see these half naked women dancing in front of men. Being a man I have immense respect for the women around and I believe our mothers and sisters should be treated equally as queens if we (men) want to be treated as kings.Recommend

  • tasneem.

    A very thought provoking article indeed. Instead of simply riding the wagon one should see the just for including these item numbers. Juvenile rape is rising day by day in our society , an added contribution provided by these vulgar acts. Why can’t movies be made on gender strengts, I’m not saying only women but men too. There Are one hundred and one strong stories lying around. To increase the worth of your movie please do not darken the path of others.Recommend

  • Saira Ahsan

    Why is Women Liberation always equated to “Fewer Clothes” and more “Flaunting of Body Parts?” I find it the funniest when men step up to defend that women have the right to expose. Expose so that their perverted cravings for sights of flesh are satisfied? And do not even go to the “Women have a choice” debate! The women in these items songs have little or no choice over their wardrobes. They are all pre-selected. I do no understand why our Lollywood filmmakers have this sudden urge to attract masses by showing more skin? Are our storylines really that weak that they cannot sustain themselves without the objectification of women for the drooling men in the cinemas? And as for the Indian debate, please google United Nations and Bollywood, and you will find what they have to say over the objectification of women in Bollywood! And believe you me, it is NOT the path a conservative Islamic nation like Pakistan would like to take!Recommend

  • indian guy

    bollywood luring ur actors?? u have actors?? u call veena mallik an actor?? the so called actors come running at the prospect of earning something……

    stooping down to bollywood’s level. bollywood is the largest film industry in the world. first have a film industry then think of comepeting with bollywood. Recommend

  • hp kumar

    Also Include indians in the list…Noone can beat us Indians in smartness specially the Hindu one..Recommend

  • LazyLeopard

    By linking to the actual videos in your article, are you trying to condemn or promote them?Recommend

  • The Unexpected Virtue Of……

    I stick to Hollywood and European cinema. At least they know how to make a good movie. I’ve always avoided Bollywood trash nd Pakistan doesnt exactly have an industry to speak of.Recommend

  • Gulchand Mehta

    Nope. Bollywood movies ape Western Culture. Majority
    of them. The good old days, the Golden Age of Bollywood
    is long gone. Madhubala, Dilip Kumar, Gita Bali, Meena
    Kumari, Kishore Kumar, Waheeda Rehman, Nargis, Sunil
    Dutt, Raj Kapoor, Shammi….. They were the Golden Ones.Recommend

  • Ramchand

    japs is a derogatory term….Japanese correct one.Recommend

  • sobia

    i totally agree with this argument and in addition to that our drama industry is also trying to follow these kind of non-sense trends by showing bedroom scenes or other things which are not true representation of our values and cultureRecommend

  • نائلہ

    Japanese*. My bad. Recommend

  • L.

    In what, raping women?

    Don’t expect proper responses from someone who’s comments you ignore just cos it’s easier that way. Recommend

  • Sheharyar

    Cinematography*Recommend

  • نائلہ

    I don’t expect unresponsible indians to watch documentaries, art movies etc…. Imagine a rapist watching a documentary….hmmm. But still, Parvez, the main medium IS the cinema. In that country at least.

    Lol I’m not gonna watch every single film to make sure Im right am I? Those who do know can correct me if I’m wrong though. Recommend

  • Shumaila Hussain Shahani

    I bet you haven’t read the blog. Author says: “I am a liberal who defended Humaima Malick’s right to do the song Namak Paare – because it fitted the role of a bar dancer – as much as I defended Fawad Khan’s right to do a shirtless scene in Khoobsurat. I love Sonam Kapoor and Vidya Balan for their choice of women-centric films, like Dirty Picture.”Recommend

  • Shumaila

    Did not intend to hurt anyone’s feelings but I think Bollywood in some ways is our industry too as it affects our culture too. 10 crore is the amount that producers earn from releasing a Bollywood film in Pakistan. Plus DDLJ is my favorite. So I don’t ‘forget to mention it (a Bollywood movie) when asked for a list of good movies.’ Chill!Recommend

  • Shumaila Hussain Shahani

    Whoa! Thank you :) BUT feminism has no boundaries. :) A *heart* to you and all the women and men feminists in India.Recommend

  • Waqas Ali

    I think Pakistani movies are becoming better as days past but as a viewer, Pakistani movies lack a good story, although technology, graphics..etc is excellent, they skip alot of things, miss some parts of the story and people just think, what just exactly happened in this scene…. They should focus on story rather then show glamorous world and show off like Indians….. Lollywood copies Bollywood, Bollywood copies Hollywood… so Cat, Mouse Game is ON……….Recommend

  • Milind A

    On the face of it your argument appears fine. However to me both the societal violence or war are a function of the same energy (violent one). The one difference is that the army is trained to tap it, channelize it and control it, unlike the street corner rowdy not in control of his emotions…
    Violence does not necessarily have to be always overt aggression. A passive-aggressive personality due to demands of culture, can be polite & smile, while carrying those emotions beneath the surface (the violence does show up in actions – speech, work, taunt etc.).. I believe the Japanese might belong to the same – not that I’m an expert on these matters, but stillRecommend

  • Prashant

    “You are one of those who will watch a good Indian movie but will forget to mention it when asked for a list of good movies.”

    I do think, I jumped the gun on this. Apologies.

    I stick to the rest of my comment though.Recommend

  • Shumaila Hussain Shahani

    Firstly, Favicol Item song lyrics: “Main to tandoori murgi hu yaar, Gatka le saiyyan alcohol se” I am a woman and I have a right to raise voice against those who call me a ‘tandoori murgi’.
    Secondly if media were not influencing public, humans would not have had surgeries to look like Kim Kardashian, wear what deepika wore. There is a definite dialectical relationship between cinema and audience.Recommend

  • Parvez

    I do understand your argument…….. Over the years I have been to Japan many a time and even stayed there once for over a month and if any nation has impressed me its the Japanese……..so I’ll stick to my views on them as a people. I also still think that the harsh behavior of an army during times of war does not characterize or stereotype the general public.
    Thanks for the exchange of views.Recommend

  • Shumaila Hussain Shahani

    SRK’s Dard-e-Disco and all others that you mentioned should be offending men, first. Second, those were not made a trend. Third, Men like SRK, John or whatever, they do not call themselves Gutka that a woman can chew. It’s not just about the clothes my dear.Recommend

  • Parvez

    We seem to be going around in circles…….. at the end of the day you blame cinema a lot, I say many other factors are to blame and though cinema has a small contributory part to play, but being a ‘ highly visible ‘ medium it is easy to persecute.Recommend

  • Shumaila Hussain Shahani

    Linking videos is important to let people know what we are talking about. For example we cannot bleep ‘sexual harassment’ when we talk about someone being sexually harassed. You gotta name the disease to let doctor know what is actually bothering you. Simple as that.Recommend

  • Shumaila Hussain Shahani

    This my dear is not about morals. This is about feminism. Word ‘vulgar’ was not mentioned even for once in the blog. This is about telling the world that my body is mine and no one in this world owns a right to call it ‘tandoori murgi’ (Fevicol). I’m a woman and I have a right to speak out against anyone who thinks it is ‘individual liberty’ of a man to call a woman a ‘tandoori murgi’. You clearly have not read the blog and it is not right to judge just by the title.Recommend

  • Yo2Da2

    Please stop this hurling of “rape” charges as a way to respond to an “Indian” commenter whose response you disagree with. Do you have to stoop that low? Do all responses have be knee-jerk “gotchas”? You don’t have to respond, you know. Yes, some high profile tragic rapes (less than a 100 reported in the newspapers in country of 1.25 billion people) have occurred in India in recent years but does that define the country? Likewise death due to terrorism and blasphemy accusations do not define Pakistan.Recommend

  • Yo2Da2

    You may wish to read Parvez’s comment above. There is no scientific evidence that watching violent or sexy movies, playing violent games, reading or viewing pornography has any affect on a normal person’s behavior. (Yes, item numbers may be suggestive – I find them much too boring because of their sameness – but no one is taking their clothes off or being pornographic.)Recommend

  • Yo2Da2

    So you don’t believe in individual freedom, one of the pillars of a democracy? Feminism is nothing more or less than equal rights for women – whether earning power, choice of employment, freedom of movement, inheritance and other legal rights, personal choices (including marital, childrearing, lifestyle). By saying following the path of “conservative Islamic nation” you have already prejudged what these rights for Muslim women are going to be. Can you be a feminist and a Muslim woman?Recommend

  • L.

    Do you have any knowledge of the person I am conversing with?! Kindly go through his history of comments and then talk.

    I’m not going to bother with taking anything he says seriously when he can do the same for anyone else. -.- Recommend

  • thriftysmurf

    Filipinos are infamously lazy…Recommend

  • AT

    We’ve already had our fair share of vulgar, provocative dancing/dressing in Punjabi/Pushtu films which make these ‘item’ numbers look like novice work. The only difference is that these actresses are different from the main stream film actresses. By the way, Kareena Kapoor has done PLENTY of item songs.Recommend

  • Faulitics

    That has as much validity as people who say that all terrorists are Muslim.Recommend

  • Faulitics

    For old people, only the old is gold since finding out about the gold in the new is too much work for them.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    That is listed infamously nowhere….Recommend

  • Eman

    I totally support your theory we are Muslims not Hindus its their culture!!! why should we care about what happens in India or whatever! ,keeping the religion aside this thing is not even in our Pakistani culture, we see all the Pakistani dramas and they are way more better than our Pakistani films, I went to cinema with my family to watch na maloom afraad and we didn’t knew about the item song, it felt so disgusting when we saw it, I mean we cant even watch Pakistani movies with our family!? what the hell is wrong with our people, and honestly in the end everyone were talking about that there was no need of that cheap mehwish hayats item song in na maloom afraad, because the story itself and everything was perfect except that item song, the film was funny, the the actors acting was too good what else do people need to watch in a film!? its everyone’s responsibility to stop this new vulgar trend from going viral in our society, people and the industry itself which includes film makers and directors especially who are responsible for this! and about Pakistanis and Indians there is a huge difference between us and our culture! we must accept it instead of blaming each other. there is no point in blaming Indians for what their society happily accepts. Its us, Pakistanis, we need to realize what our values are actually, that is why all over the world Muslims are suffering the most because we have totally forgotten who we actually are!Recommend

  • sameera

    Khalid, that was absolute crap! first up, admit you don’t have a valid argument and you’re bashing the Pakistani cinema for the sake of it. Secondly, it IS a revival of Pak cinema because the old industry was literally dead with cinemas shut down and we masses left with no local movies to watch in cinema houses. Thirdly, if you cared to watch a movie or two, the plots have been entertaining, light-mood and also depicting what we’re going through. Obviously, we are in a transition phase from old-styled gujar films to more refined ones but at least we’re not copying shamelessly from the Hollywood movies. (I say so just because you started drawing the parallels.) And yes, if India, despite their huge audience, filthy-high budgets and a whole army of actors, directors and producers, only manage to churn out “3-5 genuinely good films” out of 150 crappy movies, then obviously Indian cinema is a disgrace! Just because it amasses million-dollar profits for showing nonsensical plots and crappy rip-offs doesn’t make it fit to draw parallels with!Recommend

  • thriftysmurf

    Their women are always complaining that the men don’t work.Recommend

  • Uzair

    Oh got it. Thanks for the clarification. Then why does the article demean the item songs and women that do it? (That’s a moralistic call too). I think your assertion is that it is fine for a woman to criticize another woman, but a man does not have the right to do so. You’re right then, it ain’t about feminism; it’s about double standards. Good day to you :)Recommend

  • thriftysmurf

    Why can’t the so called “educated’ film makers of Pakistan idealize Stanley Kubrick instead of the unoriginal Indian product…Recommend

  • Shumaila Hussain Shahani

    …if media were not influencing public, humans would not have had surgeries to look like Kim Kardashian, wear what deepika wore. There is a definite dialectical relationship between cinema and audience.Recommend

  • Shumaila Hussain Shahani

    Thank you for not reading and misjudging my writing. Good day to you too :)Recommend

  • Shumaila Hussain Shahani

    If media were not influencing public, humans would not have had surgeries to look like Kim Kardashian, wear what deepika wore. Just recently France banned ultra-thin models. Israel, Spain and Italy have done that in the past. The reason behind it is to stop ‘the idealization of the dangerously thin’. Now you see how media affects a common man? There is a definite dialectical relationship between media and audience.Recommend

  • abhi

    It is different thing to raise the voice against absurd lyrics but blaming them for ills of society is not correct. The songs are there because such mentality exists in society not the otherway round.Recommend

  • Uzair

    Sorry for my dyslexic attributes. I apologize for not comprehending a finely written text like you want me to. I guess only feminists can correctly articulate the interpretations of ET articles.Recommend

  • Shaheen

    Just to clarify, in Islam men and women are equal on aggregate, but not in every aspect. For example,inheritance in Islamic law requires son to get double the share relative to the daughter. Why? Because husband is obligated to spend his income on wife and kids. On the contrary, the wife is not obliged to spend a single penny of her earnings on anyone, if she wishes to. It is better to understand the entire Islamic system in totality, rather than aiming to reconcile feminism, individual liberty and Islam. One can submit to their whims/desires/ideologies or one can submit to Allah. Islam means peace acquired by submission to the All Mighty and a Muslim means the person who has submitted to the will of Allah. If that doesn’t fare well with people, then they can submit to feminism, communism, or any other -ism they like. For Muslims: Why run after a deficient ideology when you have the best ideology (Islam) at your disposal?Recommend

  • Khalid

    Well boo-hoo, I’m sorry if I tainted your image of Pakistani cinema but that is what it is. I have seen every Pakistani movie that has come out since this so-called revival and I’m sorry to admit they were nothing special. Waar, Dukhtar and 021 are the only films that standout or actually have some redeeming qualities. Furthermore, do you know what a cinematic revival is? Iranian New Wave, Italian neo-realism, French New Wave those were periods of cinematic revival. Italy after the second world war, despite being destroyed economically got up and made stunning films. Simply making movies is no revival. And i’m sorry to admit this but Pakistani cinema is rarely doing anything original. Try watching Rock’N Rolla and you’ll see how much of it Jaliabee has ripped off. The item-number crap is another thing that Pakistani movies fail to distance themselves from which proves they don’t have enough confidence in their films and have to advertise the cheap item numbers to sell ticketsRecommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    what do fake liberals want one black and white pic of a girl dancing in mini skirt in Karachi and how badly you want those glorious years and now that they are finally reviving, the inner mullah is unleashed from all

    These women are not being coerced into performing “vulgar” dance numbers like they do to women in India. Our women are far more empowered than enslaved bollywood actresses, to make such choices on their own. So far, I have not seen a dace number in the revival phase thats “vulgar” or “obscene”. Infact, I have never seen an item number with more class than Mahnoor Baloch’s dance sequence in MHSA. But where is the acknowledgement for that?Where is celebration for our Pakistani women just trying to celebrating beauty working day and night to revive the cinema? Or are we all just waiting for these item numbers to be accompanied by a fatwa, death threat or acid attack so we can start whining about how are “freedoms and liberal values” are in jeopardy, causing our screaming to attract attention of the Western media, who can the exploit that narrative into having Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, the propaganda machine, to jump on the bandwagon of creating an Oscar nominee documentary about the ” brave and fearless Pakistani women fighting for their rights to dance in films amid fears of taliban threats and acid attacks”. Oh yeah, that will get these fake liberals who are complaining today to suddenly be bashing Pakistan for it’s rising extremism.

    Hunh? Is that what you guys really want? But since none of that has happened yet, we are all going to criticize instead of acknowledging the fact we are still a very liberal nation if only we decide to pull our heads from the ground.
    So stop complaining start celebrating this exciting phase of revival of our cinema which reflects our diverse liberties and women empowerment.Recommend