India has gotten negative press regarding its treatment of women. The Jyoti Pandey case only brought shame and terror and has severed the conscience of the Indian people. The Kathua rape case of an eight year old child horrified the sub-continent.
The tragedy of rape is being examined on many levels of society. So why do we allow the film industry to show sexual exploitation as entertainment?
In “Monsoon Wedding” (2001), Naseerudin Shah plays a protective uncle who stands up to a more powerful male relative who had molested his niece. It was a powerful message in a culture that normally shames the victim.
However, in “Dirty Picture” (2011), Shah plays a creepy older actor who basically sexually exploits the up and coming actress Silk, played by Vidya Balan. The lyrics of the song “Oo La La” are between the older man, and the younger woman’s taunting words “Don’t touch me. I’m a young woman.” The film and the music have no redeeming qualities. The film glorifies the hypersexualized Silk and basically excuses the disgusting behaviors as just “what it takes to get ahead.”
Why the mixed messages?
But Shah isn’t the only one guilty of this hypocrisy. Kareena Kapoor is another guilty party. It is sad to see actresses like Kapoor show her face as a UNICEF ambassador, posing for women’s rights, then perform these kind of “item songs” glorifying prostitution. See my other blog “Does Bollywood Portray Sex Slavery as Cute and Funny?”
There is a saying “Garbage in, garbage out.” What we put into our minds in the form of entertainment, music and conversations, affects our behavior.
If we truly believe that rape is wrong, we would stop watching such garbage and boycott this kind of hypocritical behavior in the Bollywood industry. It will take more than social media posts and protests to stop the rape culture in India.