The recent case of the brutal rape of a medical student in Delhi has highlighted the sad state of affairs in India. Infant foeticide, domestic violence against women, dowry death's etc are part of the same malaise that has afflicted the system, where women are looked down upon, objectified and treated as second rate citizens. Certainly yes, the government needs to enact tougher laws to punish the guilty. However, what is the film industry (which is largely responsible for influencing the way young minds think) doing to help (or not help) the cause of women? Particularly but not exclusively in south Indian movies the hero is often depicted treating the heroine with disrespect, engaging in eve teasing, and this is considered machismo. The woman is expected to just live with it. Even when rape scenes are shown, the plight of the woman is shown but the rapist is shown to suffer any consequences. Is this not sending the wong message?
Often movies have 'item songs' where women are objectified as objects of sex, dressed in less than skimpy clothes. The recent song 'Dreamum Wakemum' from the movie Aiyaa, is a case in point, where the lyrics leave no room for doubt as to the intent of the song. Have you ever seen/ heard such crass song lyrics from the west, especially in a family movie? Is it not time that Bollywood behaves more responsibly and maturely?
In the olden days we used to talk about movie's having double-meaning dialogues. However directors and writers have become much bold and have done away with the need to be less-brazen about the import of their dialogues. The majority of film-goers are young, vulnerable, adults, whose minds can be moulded either to become rapists and eve-teasers, or to become responsible and respectful young men and women. How do we want to mould them?
A number of film stars in recent days have come forward to condemn the rape of the young girl. But has anyone owned up responsibility for showing women in bad light in cinema's? Can't an established actress, not refuse to act in an item number? Do actresses not have a responsibitlity to avoid scenes that might influence men to abuse/ disrespect women? I am not talking about movie's where such scene's are necessary or part of the story/ plot. But the majority of such scenes are only included to titillate the audience and draw crowds!
I urge all actors/ actresses/directors/producers/ writes to refuse to make any movies/ scenes that show item numbers/ objectify women or where eve-teasing is shown as just a normal part of life, which one should accept.
Bollywood, it is time you take responsibility for your actions. Please think before you act. If atrocities against women have to stop, everyone needs to take responsibility for their actions! The excuse that 'movies only reflect what the society thinks', is lame. Please follow Aamir Khan's example and make movies that change the society.