Bollywood confuses me, immensely.

The title of my blog post sums up what I’ll be discussing in this post. The Bollywood film industry confuses me, a lot.

I don’t watch a lot of Indian TV channels, largely because most of it is extremely rubbish. What I do often watch is Indian music channels, and yesterday I watched (properly) the music video for a Bollywood song which had many an Indian going slightly barmy, titled “Chikni Chameli”.

What I saw was a much-loved Bollywood actress – Katrina Kaif, shown in the above picture – parading around with a bottle of alcohol attached to her waist and scantily clad. Dancing away in a rather sexual and vulgar manner, she is surrounded by a hoard of men. Striking the match from within her cleavage, she lights a cigarette for one of them. Then, flashed a message addressed to anyone watching:

“Cigarette smoking is injurious to health”.

Okay, thanks for the heads up, Bollywood.

Now, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this? If you know me already, you may have guessed where it’s heading. If you don’t, I’m about to tell you.

I was absolutely fuming that Bollywood cinema felt it was more important to portray, in a very normal manner, the sexualisation of woman without any warning flashing across the screen informing cinema-goers that this was not in any way an accurate portrayal of a female. Rather, it consisted of reminding audiences that smoking kills, as if people didn’t already know. What I’d like to clear up before I move on is that I’m not in any way stating that cigarette smoking shouldn’t be advertised as being harmful – by all means, it should! Rather, what I’m trying to highlight is that Bollywood needs to get its priorities right.

Seeing this smoking warning pop up while the bigger picture was being completely obliterated made me think about how Bollywood cinema essentially fuels the wrong mentality in men towards women. Being the massive industry that it is, I believe it is the one medium in India which can reach out to males and bring about a change in attitude to the opposite sex. It is disgusting to see how actresses feel it is okay to firstly, star in such roles and degrade their own gender, and secondly, how Bollywood promotes female objectification in such an explicit way. If actresses like Katrina Kaif, who perform what are called “item numbers”, rejected these kinds of songs and roles, then the Bollywood film industry we see today could have a huge hand in altering the minds of men who see their female counterparts as the unrealistic women portrayed on the big screen.

As well as advertising the fact that smoking kills, Bollywood needs to put across the fact that women do not gyrate amongst predatory men and that they sure as hell do not attach little bottles of alcohol to their waist in an attempt to seduce men. If women were portrayed in a more realistic and less derogatory fashion, and not in such a carnal way, then not only in India, but globally, our gender can finally begin to be respected for being human beings, and not marginalised as being sexual beings produced to sexually gratify the needs of men.

Considering the exposure that gang-rapes and female victimization has gained in the media recently, it would make sense if Bollywood began to take steps to ensure that the movies they produce promote gender equality and respect for women in India, especially. It is heartbreakingly sad for me to say however, that like any industry, Bollywood thrives on making money and ensuring that their female actresses are depicted in the most appealing way only.

It will continue to do this for a very long time, and this is why Bollywood confuses me.

Here’s the link for the song I’m talking about. Perhaps it will give anyone reading this some background on what I’ve written about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7zqLiZ1GOo

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