Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sweet Poison

Channel surfing last night I came across this song on one of the popular music channels. Katrina Kaif dancing her heart out to a fast beat, but after about 20 seconds when I heard the lyrics and started noticing the background this wonderful picture turned real ugly. The film clip shows a girl dressed as a traditional Marathi ‘Fisher Women’ dancing, surrounded by shady looking men staring at her body parts like scavengers. If this was not appalling enough the lyrics of the song could win a prize for promoting most of the social evils responsible for violence against women.  Its promoting alcohol, drugs, sex as a commodity for sale.
Chikni Chameli
What sort of entertainment is this? Who is being entertained? I would really like to meet the director, lyricist and even Ms Kaif and ask them why they would want to create something so negative?
Freedom of expression is central to all democracies and it is important to ensure people’s ideas, thoughts and creativity is not censored. But in the case of this video and the many others like it, who is the target audience? Is meant for general viewing of should it be restricted to adults? Being an adult I can claim that my life would be just fine without viewing such trash. But children and adolescents are influenced by the entertainment industry and what they watch on TV has an impact on their values, understanding of society and their behavior.  So, I would say that there should at least be an age bar on such videos.
The more time I spent on these music channels the more I realised that this video is not even exceptionally explicit, every second video is the same. How have we come to this? Has the biggest film industry in the world lost its creativity?
This is not an argument against freedom of expression. It is an argument against the objectification of women.  There are parliamentary discussions if religion or a caste is mentioned in a song, but what about respect for women? Are gender relations in the country so bad that it’s seen as acceptable for women to be portrayed in such a way?
We as a society have a right to decide what we want to view as entertainment and our sensor boards need to reflect that decision. And the entertainment industry needs to start taking women’s rights seriously, rather than reinforcing gender difference and objectifying women.

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