‘Ek ladki do dekha to aisa laga…’ seems to be the evergreen theme of Bollywood love songs. It shall be looked at precisely in this article, with clear categorization of different songs about women. The two main types are, first, where women are idealized and are of well reputed families, and second, where women are whores and every man’s object. In the former category, soft and sweet lyrics and music was used and in the latter, item songs were prominent. The margin between the two could even be blurred. When the songs featured virtuous and highly respected women, their attires would be lady-like and with sweet-voiced singers. Their heavenly presence would evoke desires in the hero’s heart and he’ll sing out his emotions and about his tender fascination. Most of such songs would be hummed by idealistic ones. The woman would be the image of fulfillment and real happiness, with captivating charms. Whereas in item songs, the obscenity would be accepted and celebrated by ruffian-like, low quality men. Innuendos and mockeries would be openly sung in the guise of ‘enjoyment’. Usually a high-pitched, flirting voice of a female singer would match with the semi-naked dancing girls and their expressions. She might bravely express and display her beauty and desire yet she remains vulnerable, surrounded by hungry men-folks. She is gazed at through dirty eyes and compared with fruits to be enjoyed or ravished. The interesting part is that her youth is what tempts men and in years, she might be left desolate and helpless, without admirers. In both categories of songs, a woman is presented beautiful. But in former, marriage becomes the means of acceptance and respect in society and marks the end of the tale ‘and they lived happily ever after’. In the latter case, she can’t escape the harsh truth of being an object of desire for many men and commodifying herself to make her ends meet. The worst thing about item songs is that it degrades women-kind and gives them phrases like ‘sheela ki jawani’ or ‘chikni chameli’. The roadside romeos use these very songs to eve-tease every woman they see and expect them to either remain silent sufferers or provide them encouragement. Talking about men in an idealised version, they are represented as rational beings but highly caring and loving. They tend to have an image similar to that of any charming prince. They know to respect other women as somebody else’s daughter or sister. While in item song version, men are presented as hungry, desperate, morally degraded, aggressive, and dangerous creatures. They will be extremely proud of their masculinity but could only sink to beasts. This article ends on the note of hopefulness that one could move towards betterment and quality instead of being a victim of one’s own passions. Music tends to reflect the society and can easily reside on the lips of many. It’s our choice what to taste and consume.
About the Author: This article is contributed by Anam Fatima, our intern.