An Open Letter To Bollywood

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An Open Letter To Bollywood
Dear Bollywood

At the outset, let me mention that this week’s column is dedicated to women.
International Women’s Day is on March 8. Here’s hoping you join hands in coming down heavily on lyrics that demean a women and project them like cheez, that are just a mast item to be ogled at. ”Kya gaadi hai, Kya bumper hai…” Let’s hope lyrics like these are things of the past.

Here’s also hoping that our top heroines join hands in playing a huge part in a big change that can sweep across the film industry and the nation by refusing ‘item songs’. After all, these raunchy numbers with senseless lyrics are even heard by school kids on their way back home in the school bus. That the school authorities should be on guard is another matter. Let’s start with US so that we can see the change filter down. I say US because we are all part of this industry. No use pointing fingers; rather let’s get together to fight this menace.

A question to lyricists of item numbers: What are you really thinking when you pen lyrics for songs which go thus… ”Tu cheez badi hai mast mast?” Or ”Choli ke peeche kya ha?.” Or ”Tu hai meri fantasy.” Or ”Main to tandoori murgi hoon yaar, Gatkale saiyan alcohol se.”

Just last week ZILA GHAZIABAD had not one but two item numbers with lyrics that demean women. Most (in Bollywood) are in favour of slamming such songs. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), too has made its displeasure felt.

One song in ZG with an actress in bit clothes goes thus, ”Solid hai tera figure, apne baap ka na samjo maal.” As if this was not enough there’s another which goes like this, ”Jashn adhura hai chamiya ke bin. Mein jab bhi kamar hilaon mein chamiya desi rum hoon.

There has been a big hue and cry after the unfortunate Delhi incident last December, and you (Bollywood) in particular faced the ire because of item songs and lyrics that demean and disfigure a woman in a man’s mind. Considering this backdrop and the mood of the nation pertaining to this issue, I am surprised that the makers of ZG went ahead with this trash. The makers will say the censors passed the same.

But why pass the buck? Censors cannot be watch dogs for your every move. Somewhere, a filmmaker has to have the responsibility to provide clean content. You have to realize that society in general cannot solely depend on the intervention of regulatory bodies. You have to ask difficult questions to yourself, even before you put pen to paper as a lyricist. As for the production houses, they should have a clear mandate of ‘no raunchy lyrics’.

The objective of item songs is to lure the audience. It is these item songs that are promos for a film. So it’s either Sheila Ki Jawani or a Chikni Chameli that is marketed to raise the figures. This has been a profitable move for most producers and actors involved.

Let’s now get serious and show the Nation that WE mean business. Sheila will remain jawaan and Chameli is chikni. But let that be in their own homes. Let’s not bring these fantasies on screen and emphasize it with bosom thrusts and pelvic moves into the camera right onto the viewer’s face.

This is not to say that there should be a curb on creativity. Creativity does not necessarily mean to demean a woman and present her as an object of desire, film after film.

My humble request to Katrina Kaif, Malaika Arora Khan and Kareena Kapoor: please lead the way and come out with a pledge on March 8 and say ”No to item numbers.”

That would be a big boost to women on Women’s Day.

Martin D’Souza

(This weekly column tries to be as honest as honest can be… )

Also check out : An Open Letter To Anil Kapoor by Martin D’Souza

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