I’m a feminist. My fatal flaw is my undying love for Bollywood. I’m of the variety that cries not just during the sad scenes, but in anticipation of the sad scenes, hours later and would have cried in my sleep too, if it was possible. My one and only quest in life is to learn all the dance steps of all the songs of all the movies. In short, Bollywood is my problematic favourite.
As if creating uni-dimensional female characters wasn’t enough, Bollywood’s other favourite technique to undermine anyone who isn’t the lead hero is — sexist lyrics and it doesn’t seem to be dying out any time soon.Really, Bollywood? Why must you do me so dirty?
Anyway, here is, crafted with love, disappointment and the hope that you’ll mend your ways, a list of the most cringeworthy, misogynistic lyrics that really, really made me feel like breaking up with you. (See how you’ve made me? So dramatic.)
There are a lot of intersecting love stories at the centre of which is this song. “Kabhi kabhi mere dil mei khayaal aata hai, ki jaise tujh ke banaaya gaya hai mere liye.” This is the first line of the song. If you still feel like continuing with it, the entitlement is repeatedly emphasised with the many ‘mere liye’ lines. He further reiterates that her eyes, her lips and her arms too are his property. ’70s romance, really? You disappoint me.
No, NO. Maybe she was sent to earth to make pathbreaking scientific discoveries. Maybe she was sent to earth to ensure that ugg boots go out of fashion. But hey, what were you sent to earth for other than reciting blatantly patriarchal poetry to your wife in the name of romance?
Can you imagine 500 odd men screaming for you and asking you to kiss some man? This is exactly what poor Jumma had to go through in this song. They splash water on her, repeatedly surround her and ask her to kiss a man because she had promised to kiss him on Friday. And it’s Friday. So, sorry Jumma, we don’t make the rules. We’re going to harass you till you kiss him. Well, hey. Maybe Jumma changed her mind. Ever thought of that? Poor Jumma repeatedly refuses that she isn’t interested in exchanging any saliva with this man. But, refer to the Bollywood 101 formula I had mentioned before. No = harass me to convince me.
Shah Rukh, you too?
This film (“Darr”) is about a stalker played by Shah Rukh (The name of whose character I cannot recall. Feel like betting it’s Rahul though.) who has pictures of Kiran (Juhi Chawla) all over his house and, while I don’t blame him for that, she is quite beautiful, his other passtime is tattooing her name on his body with blood. Creepy? Nah, it’s love. At least, that’s how he defines it. And to express his undying love for Kiran, he sings a song for her saying whether or not she agrees to it, she belongs to him. On her part, Kiran is visibly excited at having a secret admirer. Ah, sixth grade memories.
Umm, Rahul (?) instead of making all this effort, simplify it and call the song rape & entitlement. Okay?
PS: My mother tells me his name actually was Rahul. I have won the bet (against myself.)
This song was featured in the 1994 film “Mohra” which was widely acclaimed for it’s music. The result of this song, apart from the huge role it’s played in the lives of roadside eve-teasers was that Raveena Tandon, the lucky one to be called a ‘mast cheez’ in the film even got the nickname ‘the mast mast girl.’
Fun fact, this song came out a year before I was born. So mom, dad, I’m glad you wanted to bring me into the world at a time when it was telling women that tu cheez badi hai mast mast. Also, ableism and eve teasing rox.
Bollywood 101 – Girl says no, boy says please. Lather, rinse, repeat until girl says okay.
This has also been a summary of the song ‘Apun Bola.’ In this song, it’s Aishwarya Rai’s character (yes, her too) who tells Shah Rukh Khan’s (shall I bet on Rahul again?) that if he proposes to a girl and she refuses, he needn’t worry. This is just her style. She’s saying ‘no’ but what she means, deep down in her heart is ‘yes.’ Umm, like, really really deep down, maybe? Tending to non-existence?
Anyway, she tells him to take her out to hotels and buy her some food, and then ask her again. Everything is fair in love and war. So why not try bribery? Also, ladies, take the free food and run.
For me, the toughest part of writing this article was picking which Honey Singh song to put on the list, each one I found was worse than the last. But I finally settled on this beauty in which he tells a girl that a) he never touches anything sub -standard b) he will give up sex with white girls for brown girls and c) that he’s still willing to give this brown girl the golden opportunity to be his possession. Hand on your heart, tell me, isn’t this the proposal you always dreamt of? Flowers are so overrated anyway.
This song is from a film about two male escorts Rocco and Hunter, who turn to this profession due to monetary problems. In true Bollywood hero style, they make their entires shirtless, and throughout the song are shown in the company of many women fawning over them. Not only does the song promote an unhealthy body image and ideas of masculinity for men, but also shows hoards of women as, what Bollywood thinks they do best – arm candy.
One Yo Yo song isn’t enough, so here, take another one. Along with him and much to my disappointment is Punjabi superstar and one of the loves of my life, Diljit Dosanjh.
This song is about a woman who weighs 47 kgs and has a waist of 28 inches. This song, with it’s catchy beats and periodic moaning by a woman in the background, again reduces women merely to their body, and also tells her that while she was busy dieting, the ‘fat girl’ already got married. In conclusion, thin bodies? Fat bodies? All unacceptable.
Not you too, Diljit. Not you too.
So, 2011 was a really, really bad year for us, wasn’t it?
Flashback to my childhood days, I remember getting stitched Kareena’s pink dress from “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham” (fondly calledK3G). Poo was my inspiration. I couldn’t hold a conversation without quoting one of her dialogues. Then came Geet from “Jab We Met” and I just fell deeper and deeper in love. So by the time Kareena’s Fevicol Se had come out, I was hooked. She looked gorgeous, yes. But I just couldn’t get past the objectifying lyrics that she was lip syncing to. At a time when we were finally talking about objectification of women in Bollywood, this song came along and told us that we’re actually ‘tandoori murgis,’ here for consumption. The song later went on to win awards but in my heart, the damage had been done.
Bonus: For a minute, imagine the act of using fevicol to stick pictures of someone on your chest.
Joining the list is Shahid Kapoor with this song is from the movie “Phata Poster Nikla Hero.” He tells the subject of his affections that he’s going to stalk her, block her way because he has some absurd idea of entitlement. This, he says is the true mark of a lover. And while he does all this, he asks her to please not be shocked or object to it. Bollywood – redefining dream proposals, always.
Also, girl, we all notice your subtle blushing. It’s not a compliment. Actually, you might want to call the police. The Shahid – Mika combination returned with the song Gandi Baat. And you don’t need me to tell you what’s wrong with that one, do you?
In conclusion, this article gave me more pain than that time when Himesh Reshammiya decided to become an actor. Bollywood, you break my heart. But just like Anjali and Rahul, Leela and Ram, Aditya and Geet, I too will give you another chance. But if you’ve lost count, we’re already at about your 57th, so fix yourself already, please.