Blog :As I Muse...
Date: 6/30/2012 1:18:00 PM
For the uninitiated, this is not what the Amul girl
will be called when she’ll grow up (if at all). This is Veena Malik in a very nondescript, can-and-will-be-forgotten-before-it-hits-the-theatres
movie called Daal Mein Kuch Kaala Hai
(thanks for the warning, makers!)
So why talk of her? Or Madam Malai? It’s because I’m going nuts!
I mean, what’s with these item songs? First of all, whoever thinks it is fun are pervs – for I see it as demeaning to women (yeah, go ahead and brand me a feminist). ‘Item’ or ‘maal’ as men are prone to calling, implies commoditizing women (and yes, the Malayalam equivalent – charakku). Isn’t that why the song is called an item song? Correct me if I’m wrong!
And I’m driven up the wall by the slew of such songs on TV – in fact, I dread switching it on around cousins. When I was a kid, catching such scenes on TV was an uncomfortable experience – the awkward silence, avoiding each other’s gaze. Now, we have women gyrating sleazily in their two- pieces (if we are lucky) and oddly enough we are comfortable with it – or at least it doesn’t raise eyebrows. The channel to avoid around adults those days was FTV, but now I don’t think there’s any channel without a bit of skin show on the offing!
Perhaps this trend was ignited when Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru got famous with their raunchy music videos, where unsuspecting old songs of yore got a facelift and was presented in its new avatar. Kaanta Laga, Chadti Jawani, Kaliyon Ka Chaman, Saheri Babu – anyone? It opened the floodgates for sleaze. What was once considered anathema became acceptable. They raised the bars and lowered our levels of alarm. It wasn’t long before movies absorbed this phenomenon. Not that ‘item songs’ didn’t exist before it. It got a new lease of life after this. I remember Shilpa Shetty in ‘Dilwaalon ke dil ka karaar lootne’ and even Malaika Arora in ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ – but it now appears harmless compared to what was to follow.
Things were again low for a while. And then Yana Gupta broke into the item scene with ‘Babuji zara dheere chalo’. Here was a foren lass gyrating to a Hindi song, along with lip-synching – no less! And the rest, as they say, is history. A bimbo in every movie seemed the magic mantra. And that trend continues – it’s hard to see a movie without one. The latest instigator was Munni Badnam where Malaika continued her legacy of Honth Rasile, Mahi Ve among others. And since then there has been a heavy dose of such songs – Sheila Ki Jawani, Chikni Chameli, Chammak Challo, Dum Maro Dum, Character Dheela, Jalebi Bai, Shalu ke Tumkhe, Mayya Mayya, Anarkali Disco Chali, Laila (from Tezz), Shake it Saiyyan ( this one I find utter crap!), Pritam Pyaare, Hua Chokra Jawaan Re...the list is growing. It appears as if we have more items songs in the last two years than in the last decade! And the worst by far is Dan Dan Cheeni from Department (had to be RGV!) I can’t stand that song on TV – horror of horrors; imagine it on the big screen! There’s this savage lady doing pelvic thrusts and I can’t fathom, for the love of God, how that is supposed to be sexy. What about feminine charm, grace and the art of seduction? This is more like brute force (I get where they are going with this approach) – and I can’t say I like it.
And need I talk about the lyrics of such songs? Double entendre is a given; but the lyrics are crass in taste as well. I am a bit biased about the song Beedi Jalai Le – it’s a bit rustic and didn’t seem out of place in the movie (okay fine, shoot me). If you still don’t trust what I say, just check out the lyrics of of some –
Oonche se ooncha banda
Potty pe baithe nanga
Pal pal na mane tinku jiya, haan tinku jiya
Isak ka manjan ghisey hai piya
(Wonder why no toothpaste company wanted this song, like Zandu Balm and Munni!)
Chod-chad ke apne Salim ki gali
Anarkali Disco chali
(Great, now we had to drag ‘em from their graves!)
So what about old times? They had such songs then too, you ask? If I had to do a quick rewind, Helen comes to mind – she was the staple vamp, cabaret dancer, temptress or whatever you chose her to be. And yet, the girls of today don’t even come close. She also wore some daring costumes for her time, but when I see her I don’t feel repulsed; when I see the item songs now, I cringe in disgust. Some of them can’t even shake their legs – they looks like sticks shaking in the wind! No grace, no charm, no oomph (yeah, you have your Katrinas to rave about – sorry she’s not that great!). Great bodies? Hell yeah, they have that (with all the nipping and tucking, starvation and cosmetics). But the equation is still incomplete.
They say movies reflect the times we live in. And so do the songs. If this is how it looks, I am afraid the future doesn’t look any bright.