The recent anti-rape protests in Delhi are a good enough reason to introspect on the prevalent mindset around women. Films and music play a very important role in shaping this mindset. It is in this context that I read the news item today that along with Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif, Yo Yo Honey Singh was the most searched name online in 2012.
Best known for his song Angrezi Beat Te from Cocktail, Yo Yo Honey Singh has come a long way from being a mere rapper to become one of India’s biggest musical acts. Yo Yo Honey Singh has also been lauded as a Youth Icon on a public platform as seen from this video. But what’s still hidden from a majority of people is just how morally depraved the lyrics of some of his earlier songs are. One of his biggest hits is a song called Ch**t Vol. 1 (Vagina Vol. 1) which has over a million hits on YouTube. Hearing a few lines from this song was enough to make me sick but I braved myself to have a look at the lyrics in order to try and understand just how anyone could allow, and, in some cases, even justify their association with a mind that came out with such depraved and misogynist lyrics, but couldn’t come up with an answer. The lyrics are far too degenerate to even repeat here but can be freely accessed on the Internet.
Many still don’t know of Yo Yo Honey Singh’s songs like Ch**t Vol. 1 and his official website doesn’t even mention it. It’s not like Honey Singh is an overnight sensation. Ch**t Vol. 1 was released in 2009 and was his breakthrough song. His association with the likes of Akshay Kumar (Khiladi 786), Amit Trivedi & Anurag Kashyap (Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana), Himesh Reshamiya (Son of Sardaar) and Pritam & Saif Ali Khan (Cocktail) not only increases his popularity but also gives him a mainstream approval of sorts. Rather than being taken to task for such lyrics, Honey Singh has comfortably seeped into the Bollywood mainstream.
According to some sources, producer Sunil Bohra, who produced Honey Singh’s latest video Satan, has made him Bollywood’s highest paid singer by giving him Rs. 70 lacs for a single song in an upcoming film called Mastaan that reportedly features Naseeruddin Shah. Perhaps it is free speech that allows someone who came up with lyrics such as Ch***ey key baad tujhe jutey maroon (Beat you with my shoe after I f**k you) to get away with it.
What kind of society have we become that it is okay to allow such misogyny? Surely artists who portray women in such terms also need to be held responsible and taken to task?
One can’t undermine the power and social impact of cinema and music, especially Bollywood. Films and songs are such an intrinsic part of our being that many of us would readily remember popular releases of years gone. Songs, too, have played a vital role in the Indian psyche to an extent where we can’t look at them as plain entertainment as they evoke emotions ranging from patriotism to devotion. To date whenever Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo plays, it instils a sense of oneness with the nation irrespective of who hears it and where. Half a century later, the song continues to move us.
A nation’s strength can be keenly adjudged by the status the women enjoy in that country. Would it be too much to ask of filmmakers or the film industry to be an active participant in a society that is screaming for reforms when it comes to women? Filmmakers and artistes apart, each one of us has to consciously make a choice to not promote such songs, people or anything else that might promote the perception of women in a derogatory way.
Gautam Chintamani is a writer and award winning documentary filmmaker. He's currently working on the biography of Rajesh Khanna that is commissioned by Harper Collins and would come out in 2013.
Honey Singh has especially carried on this tirade against women since long, and his clique has carried it foeward. That is how he got popular. Let the videos do the talking:
2) Singers like Diljit have used him as a launching pad amongst youth too, this song was not released after there were protests against it in Punjab: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86hucWroIdU
I think these singers also need to be shamed too, the rot has become too deep.
Can Rahul Gandhi say, that a girl today, will respect her husband, like his mother respects his father? I mean, an Indian girl?
TV serials are also sharply deteriorating. Consider the crime serials (savdhan India etc.) - after a few interesting episodes, they degenerate to every now and then showing rape cases - as if just mentioning the fact the protagonist has been raped is not enough, they push the envelope as much as they can - mouthing obscene dialogues (beep beep - but the lips tell the story) and spelling out the scenario to the point one thinks one is watching soft porn - they are more of the ilk of the thrashy crime magazines. But the rapping of the rapist is dismissed in a few short scenes. The whole focus of the episode is more on titillation. I have given up watching these serials. Perhaps they have since then been hauled over coals for this but I doubt it.
@Ramki: Ma'am, I respect the Congress leader, as a person. Let's put it bluntly, the Indian woman would find it difficult to be Sonia Gandhi, and I should have put 'most other', and omitted 'the', after 'bluntly'. I see women not admiring the lady, because she is supposed to be a cycophant, of the Indian people, as her party is of her, according to them. I should have added 'immensely' before 'respect', in the first sentence.
Aditya Mulkherjee >> Ms. Sonia Gandhi, don't disbelieve it, is the ideal Bharatiya Nari.
True, that is why we should address her as "Saint Sonia". She is not a mere mortal like you and me. .. She is divine !!!!!!
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