Following the Delhi gang-rape case, Bollywood has been targeted for objectifying women and wrongly influencing the psyche of the public.
The attack has predominantly been on concepts like the ‘item numbers’ where skimpily-clad women are shown gyrating to offensive lyrics.
Members of the film industry, however, insisted that movies or the “item numbers” cannot be singled-out and blamed for influencing such heinous crimes.
“It won't be the end of item numbers. Besides item numbers per se are not the problem,” asserts ‘Talaash’ director Reema Kagti.
Agrees noted filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt. “I don’t think one should succumb to this kind of moral policing. And one should know that our films are being censored before its release.”
He further blames the Indian media for unnecessarily attacking Bollywood. “I accept media has got mass appeal but you cannot blame cinema for the increase in crime against women. There is no credible evidence to prove the point that cinema is responsible for the heinous crime.
“In this helpless time when rape cases are on the rise you cannot turn to cinema and say that we are making someone go and rape. Bollywood since time unknown has shown the beauty of women. They have been projected to titillate our senses. There are movies which project women as commodity but there again the question of artistic freedom arises.”
Actor Tusshar Kapoor also tweeted in agreement. “Why do these intellectuals blame hindi movies for these crimes against women? Lack of education, poor mind set of the indian male, is it all.”
The criticisms has polarized the industry into taking a strong stand against abuse of women in India.
“I think misrepresentation is the problem not over-sexualisation. Our films put out the wrong idea about women, it comes from not understanding them.
“I hope the reaction we are seeing from filmmakers is stemming from them realising we play a huge role in propagating unhealthy gender politics. At the end of the day films shape culture and society and most of our films are extremely misogynist,” she added.
Recently, hip-hop star Yo Yo Honey Singh was targeted over offensive lyrics. His New Year’s show was cancelled following protests to boycott any acts that glorify rape. Even filmmaker Anurag Kashyap who produced a music video for the singer wasn’t spared.
Kashyap later took to facebook to clear his stand. “I don't have any problems with the man. Should I judge the man on the basis of what he did 10 years ago seeking attention or should I judge the man I meet and interact with. Everyone knows there own truth. I believe mine,” he wrote.
“Finally.. that song is by a Pakistani band called Zeest and not yo yo honey singh.. see the video, hear the voice, read the comments.”
From dedicating poems in her honour, to holding peace march in Mumbai, Bollywood has been vocal about the incident.
India has been burning ever since reports of a 23-year-old medical student was gang-raped in the capital city of Delhi. The victim later succumbed to her injuries while undergoing medical treatment in Singapore.
With inputs from Ajanta Paul