So today, like any other weekday, I came home at around midnight after my second job ended. I open Instagram and a whirlpool of stories come flooding onto my screen. The one that inspired me to write again was this one. Hindi/Bollywood songs have been my solace since childhood. Raised on romantic songs of Shahrukh Khan, I always go back to Bollywood music when I feel low and it never fails to cheer me up.
I had just posted a story about how old Hindi songs touch a string in my heart that Hollywood/English music could never. To my dismay, I come across a post, moments later, criticising a new Bollywood song titled “Beyonce Sharma Jaayegi” (Beyonce would feel embarrassed/shy). This song had the trashiest music video ever (it hurt my eyes and ears when I took the time to see it) and was the hot topic of the hour on social media. The lyrics made no sense whatsoever. And I failed to see the point of the song or movie in general.
After scanning the public reaction to the video, I realised that I was not going insane and that it was legit a horrible mistake. The music video producers and the “brilliant” fool who came up with this song had created a disaster worse than the pandemic.
I hear some Indians comment about how they realise the fucked up society that they are brought up and live in. How we idolise dark-skinned God’s (Krishna, Shiva), but paint them blue to disguise their darkness. How most skin creams are advertised to sell bright and white skin instead of clear and healthy. How Indian cinema has disregarded talented actors with dark skin and replaced them with star kids.
I think back to my childhood and how I was anxious about being dark-skinned growing up. I was jealous of my mother because she was fairer than me. I am glad she raised me the way she did, built my confidence through every stage of my life. So here I am, living miles away from home in a country of white-skinned people. Yet, I feel proud and confident in my skin. It took me a while to accept my flaws and when I did, I became freer; more spirited than I have ever felt.
Coming back to the topic of this new disastrous song. We definitely see the irony in using Beyonce’s name. Since she has been actively building up women of colour, giving them confidence and making them feel beautiful in their skin (a reference to her song “Brown skin girl”).
I strongly agree that Bollywood has made a mistake and we should take some action that stops music directors from making such debacles in the future. However, the reason I wrote this article was to bring to notice the positive songs out there in Bollywood that appreciate women of colour.
I remember a Gujarati song that was performed in my high-school as part of a cultural festival. The song was titled “Saavli Roop Mohini Swaroop” which translates to dark skin being enchanting. There are a few other songs out there like “Saanwali Si Ek Ladki“…
*Tries to google other songs that praise dark skin, ends up finding a billion articles about racism in Bollywood*
*Gives up looking*
I would never have come across these two songs via a google search. We are so quick to label ourselves racist and declare that Bollywood has been fixated on fair skin forever. That is because we tend to forget the songs that are made for dark-skinned women. So here is your task for the day: find a Hindi, Gujarati or any regional song that talks about dark-skinned women and prove that not all music directors are blinded by fair-skinned women.
It will take time for things to change and the fact that we are calling this out is the first step towards a better India. A country that will accept people of all skin colours the way they (supposedly) accept all religions. That is my India.