We are half way through the year and there is no dearth of sexist and misogynist Bollywood music.
The sad part is that most of these music albums that sometimes have harmless titles, very subtly push sexist ideas through their lyrics, which are mostly overlooked because of their foot tapping or catchy tunes.
These misogynistic songs are so well packaged and sold with bouncy beats, trending artists, glamorous costumes, popular celebrities, groovy choreography and larger-than-life video sets that they make it very difficult for a non-questioning fan (an overwhelming majority) to see the wrong in them.
I am not trying to say that this is done intentionally to protect patriarchy and gender discrimination in the country. But it is important to note that music reflects society and society’s cultural values are rhythmically manifested in music. Both the variables are equally affected by each other and with the ongoing fight against patriarchy, songs that rank high on the charts, do very little to help bring about any change. In fact, they subliminally encourage eve-teasing, discrimination, molestation, objectification and the idea that sexual harassment is okay.
Here’s a list of 10 songs that have let every feminist and egalitarian down in 2017:
Basically, every girl who first says ‘no’ will change her mind if you compel her a little more.
“Kyunki! Main Tera Boyfriend
Tu Meri Girlfriend
Oh Mainu Kehndi,
Na Na Na Na
Ruk Te Ja Meri Gal Tu Sunn Le
Oh Mainu Kehndi Na Na Na Na”
Why do I smell sexist entitlement? The girl very explicitly expresses her real feelings –
“Tera Aitbaar Nahi
Karna Main Pyaar Nahi
Kyun Mera Picha Karda
I Wanna Say You Main
Nahi Rehna Sohneya
Tere Naal Naal Ve”
But the boy simply refuses to understand as he forces his idea of being a couple on her until she finally starts singing the same hook at the end of the song.
Not only is this wrong, but it dangerously propagates stalking, eve teasing and harassment.
Objectification is in the very name. Do I need to say anything more?
” Tera jis se pad gaya paala
Acche ko ghalat kar daala
Tu cheez badi hai mast mast
Tu cheez badi hai mast”
The old version of this song had received a lot of flak for its inappropriate lines that reduced women to mere a ‘cheez’ of desire that is ‘mast-mast’ and the re-creators obviously didn’t bother thinking about the scale of sexism in the song, because danceable tunes guarantees revenues!
Girl, if you wear that and move like that, why wouldn’t I feel like grinding you from the back?
“Beauty kardi ae blind
Je kare na tu mind
Main tere nede nede aa ke
Kar lavaan grind ni, ki milda?
Sanu tadpa ke tenu ki milda?”
These lines sicken me every time I hear this song play.
It gives the listener a peek into the minds of molesters that lurk in the dark corners of every pub, who hide behind the noise of Ganapati Visarjan, who look at every walking and supposedly attractive female as their own sex toy.
It not only justifies wicked thoughts but also promotes victim blaming. So if lusty men (Diljit Dosanjh and Badshah, in this case) happen to grope you, the next thing you’ll see is the society blaming your “late night parties” and “western clothes” to lessen your post-molestation trauma.
I’ll stalk you and harass you however, whenever, and wherever I want. But sweetheart, it’s a compliment.
“UP mein din dahade
Window aur chath pe taade
Hum dekhe aankhen faade re
Tujhko bana kar ke
Le jayenge Badri ki dulhania
Baby badi bholi hai
Baby ki rang di choli hai
Angrezi mein khit pit madam ji
Bura na maano holi hai”
There is so much of misogyny in this song that I don’t know where to begin.
Firstly, there is something majorly wrong in the title of the movie and the song as it speaks of a boy’s uncouth quest to marry the girl he desires by ogling at her proudly under the bright light of the sun and stating that he’ll make her his wife and take her away.
I’m sorry but the last I heard, even the threat to kidnap is a crime and the way the song goes on to repeat the lines – “Tujhko bana karke le jayenge“, it degrades women and the concepts of love and marriage.
It is absolutely hysterical how the lyricist thought that a girl frustrated enough to slap her admirer would do so “out of love”.
“Tune English mein
Tune English mein jab humko daanta
Toh aashiq surrender hua
Pyaar se maara galon pe chanta
Toh aashiq surrender hua”
Another song from the same movie! Well, what can you expect if the very title is representative of misogynistic entitlement with a song that jovially talks about harassment and stalking?
Fight back all you want, girl! But the boys who learn to romance from movies are going to believe that persistence will bear its fruits, no matter how tortured you are.
Item (noun) something that is part of a list or group of things; one of the several subjects to be considered
This song makes it to the list for the “item song” trend it perpetuates.
Have you ever wondered, why the “item” in a song is only the lone woman who is dancing for the entertainment of all, and not any of the people present in the background?
There is nothing wrong with wearing certain clothes and dancing but performing as an object of sexual desire is nothing but degrading. Bollywood has done this for unbearably long, using the body of a woman to sell movies. It is one of the reasons why the term “item” for a seemingly attractive woman is used even today.
A lot of you might sulk at the inclusion of this song, but here are the problematic lines –
“Jo galti karne wala hun main uske liye
Pehle se hi maangta hun maafi”
It may seem harmless as the adorable couple is just having fun while playfully teasing each other, but these lines from the rap portion can have so many dangerous connotations.
A little bit of mindfulness and the casual sexism could have been avoided, but there is a major lack of will to consciously eliminate the fashion of such lyrics.
“Ladki ek dam right hai
Ladki dynamite hai
Ladki ke chakkar mein
Daily gali gali mein fight hai
Thoda hamein do time yaara
Love nahi hai crime yaara
Har din mujko better lage
Tu ladki hai ya wine yaara
Arre janta ko jawab do
Kab padogi pyaar mein
Sari duniya lagi hui hai
Hum bhi hai kataar mein”
Nothing left to say.
I thought Tiger Shroff had more respectable platforms to show his acrobatic skills than the head of his apparent girlfriend.
“Pareshan tu karti hai
Day night ye call karti hai
Kabhi gaddi mein le jaao
Kabhi shopping karaao
Har roz yeh tang karti hai
Mujhe Whatsapp yeh karta hai
Location check karta hai
Tum yahan pe na jaana
Tum wahan pe na jaana
Saara roz yeh shaq karta hai”
Apart from ridiculous lyrics, the song stereotypes girls to be dependent on their “boyfriends” for every luxury. It also stereotypes boys as suspicious-paranoid lovers who go to the extent of asking WhatsApp locations from their girlfriends to keep a close check on their activities.
Released on June 19 this year, the video has garnered more than 27 million views and oblivion of the masses to the innate sexism can be easily seen in the comments section of the YouTube link.
The lyrics of the song aren’t abhorrently sexist but the video is shockingly inappropriate!
It shows Akshay Kumar following the girl everywhere possible, taking her pictures without her consent, shooting videos of her, and the annoyed face of the girl doesn’t help you think otherwise.
It is scarring how it promotes stalking and the concept of irritating girls to win over them.
A variety of stalker-stunts are performed by Akshay Kumar in the song. He even hangs from a coconut tree, risking his life to shoot her video/take her picture and I suppose it is meant to be an act of love, but unsurprisingly the girl is only a step away from slapping him.
Readers, the next time you listen to a song, please give the lyrics a serious thought. Think about what is being said and discuss it with your peers to understand the meaning behind the words (more perspective help!).
The more aware listeners are, more responsible will the filmmakers and songwriters be, as they hold the power to educate an entire nation and steer change across society with their works of art.
Remember that it is not just entertainment, it is a subconscious influencer.
It is not just about present profits, it is about social welfare in the future.