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10 Hindi Songs That Reveal Bollywood’s Horrifying Sexism

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By Aakanksha Sardana for Cake:

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.)

1. Kabhi Kabhi – Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh (1976)

“Kabhi kabhi mere dil me khayal aata hai
Ki yeh badan yeh nigahe meree amanat hain”

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?

2. Jumma Chumma De De – Kavita Krishnamurthy & Sudesh Bhonsle (1991)

“Are tu boli thi pichhle jumme ko
Chumma dungi agle jumme ko
Aaj jumma hai to aaja aaja
Aaja aaja aaja aaja”

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.

3. Jadu Teri Nazar – Udit Narayan (1993)

“Tu kisi aur ki ho na jana
Kuch bhi kar jaaonga main deewana
Tu haan kar, ya naa kar
Tu hai meri… Kiran”

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.)

4. Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast – Udit Narayan, Kavita Krishnamurthy (1994)

“Tu cheez badi hai mast mast tu cheez badi hai mast”

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.

5. Apun Bola – Shah Rukh Khan, Hema Sardesai (1997)

“Yeh usaka style hoinga, hontho pe na dil me han hoinga
Aaj nahee toh kal bolegee, ai tu tension kai ko leta hai re”

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.

6. Brown Rang — Yo Yo Honey Singh (2011)

“Ban mitra di whore
I mean mitra di ho”

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.

7. Desi Boyz – KK, Bob (2011)

“Kudiyan de dil utthe rule karaange
Ehi bazaaran vich phaili hai hawa
Todaange Romeo de love da record vi
Likhange ishqe da paath nawa”

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.

8. Lak 28 Kudi Da — Diljit Dosanjh ft. Yo Yo Honey Singh (2011)

“Hun moti da viah hogiya, tu rehe gayi kanwaari
Dieting karke hogi mari”

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?

9. Fevicol Se — Mamta Sharma, Wajid Ali (2012)

“Naina hum ladayenge baby doll se
Ho laundiya patayenge miss call se”

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.

10. Tu Mere Agal Bagal Hai – Mika Singh (2013)

“Hai tujhpe right mera, tu hai delight mera
Tera rasta jo roku, chaukne ka nahin”

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.


Featured image source: Google
You must be to comment.
  1. Neel EB Bhaduri

    What’s the reason for such hue and cry? These songs are just made for entertainment purpose. These are made because people like us like to listen to are thinking way too far..

    1. Shivangi Singh

      imagine a guy dancing around in his underwear and being referred to as a ‘tandoori murga’ by women around him; would that “entertain” you? Would you like it if songs on the radio told you that you had to be a certain size, weight and complexion to be loved by women? If the answer to both my questions is no, then nope, she is not thinking too far

    2. Shraddheya Shendre

      I agree with you completely. These pseudo-feminists can extract sexism from anything, some of these songs are just made for entertainment purpose. (I agree with her on Honey Singh though.)
      But finding violation of feminism in “Kabhi kabhi” is too contrived to believe.

  2. Shivangi Singh

    such a fantastic and eye-opening piece; many of these songs came across to me as pretty okayish but never did I ever try to understand their connotation, which isn’t very feminist tbh. Good going

  3. Yash Singh Chauhan

    Writer’s credentials explain everything !

  4. Mohit Meshram

    plz explain “kundi mat khadkao raja”, “tipsy hogai” nd ” aaj raat ka scene bana de” … point is its just a song …we always have two sides of a coin

  5. Gaurav Verma

    I think when it comes to being sexist this is the worst song ever Chittiya kalaiya
    ( )
    The girl wants to use her attractive looks for getting stuff. How bad can this be, putting one self on streets

    1. Shreya Marar

      Exactly! Glad you said it!

  6. Yogi Kumar

    Okay ….just please make one thing clear , what the HELL are we supposed to do…is there a book on how we should think about women and not hear songs that objectify them and seriously being honest girls love it too …i am not ruling out the fact that every thing we do is sexist i am just saying ……give me a better option or “shut the hell up” and have you ever heard the motive of the song “tu mere agal bagal h” I would say it is a beautiful song …..i also know how you people are treated ….believe me i know …but stacking up everything as a feminist thing is not good … It just plays with people’s minds and will have a terrible impression if used in every situation …and if you look closely …hollywood isn’t away from objectifying woman too….i am gonna tell you the basic songs that we all heard “smack that- akon”, ” nikki minaz- anaconda” and myriads of songs can be found like this and the fact that they are obsessed with twerking ….:) …i hate that thing tbh ….so basically what i am trying to tell you is that anybody can blame someone else …it takes courage to take the blame … I have never opposed anybody’s opinion before but ….you just named the song i heard more then 400 times so …..i agree with you on the list though….. But there are other songs too like “mai nahi dekh sakta tujhe rote hue”, ” khush rahe tu sada”, ” passanger -let her go” …..i take the blame for everything happening to women ….i am just saying please don’t overdo it … Ati har cheez ki buri hoti h and … Good luck

    1. Kamya Singh

      I find your comment very contradictory. The writer only pointed out that many songs from Bollywood have such sexist lyrics.

      Agreed that the context should be taken into consideration. That’s why I don’t agree with her including the SRK song “Tu hai meri Kiran” here, since in the movie itself he was shown to be obsessive.

      Apart from that, it’s utterly disappointing that even one song should have sexist lyrics.

      From your comment, I couldn’t make out what stand you have on this issue.

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