I was in my teens when a song called ‘mere pyaar ka ras zara chakhna’ (uh, okay) freaked me out so much that I started to have second thoughts about ‘love’. The song’s representation of how people behave in love got me a little (read very) uncomfortable.
I don’t think I am alone. All of us have grown up with songs, that can be pretty scarring. Point is, Bollywood is like religion in this country, and people do get influenced by what they see, and especially something that gets appraised. When the hero goes full-on creep on the heroine, & it’s shown to help him reach his end goals, it doesn’t really discourage young impressionable boys from taking that route.
And the worst part: in each and every one of these songs the girl finally succumbs to “charms” or rather is shown to enjoy it. After all, how could she not have reciprocated to such heart-warming and passionate gestures! Right?
Let’s revisit some of these pretty creepy compositions which actually have more to do with stalking and mis(s)handling than loving.
1. Suniye toh, rukiye toh (Yes Boss)
The song begins with the “hero” dressed as a clown who is on a stalking mission coupled with hair-pulling and blocking the way. Well, it’s not just him. The crowd joins in too.
2. Kuch to Bata (Phir Bhi Dil Hain Hindustaani)
This one is not just restricted to stalking, but also extends into persistently asking for a phone number and address along with forceful pecks and borderline physical assault. In spite of being turned down god knows how many times (sorry I forgot to count the number of ‘naa’s), the quest goes on, and what could be better, he scores a perfect 10 on 10 for his actions!
3. Excuse Me (Style)
The amount of respect for women in this song is just wow – unnecessary close up shots of intimate body parts are just the beginning. The heroes here steal flowers to woo the woman, and do all kinds of stuff that will make you go weak in the knees; quite literally.
4. Apun bola tu meri Laila (Josh)
The song begins with the woman slapping the man; this is interpreted by another woman as “hothon pe na dil me haa hoinga”. Can anyone please tell me where these body language interpretation classes are held? So yes, this song conveys how it’s justified to injure another man just because he is with the one you “love”, and how noble ideas like “ghar se bhaga ke le jaa” can be put to use.
5. Akeli na Bazaar jaya karo (Major Saab)
Hypocrisy is multilayered in this one. The hero asks the heroine to not visit the marketplace to make sure that she is safe, but himself makes it a point to harass her even before she reaches her destination. From objectifying her by sticking ‘1st prize’ label on her, to caring about her skin regime with a mud shower, he does it all. What love!
6. Aa meri life bana de (Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye)
“koi tujhse achhi pategi nahi” *doesn’t sing along*
Why care about feelings when you know you can crack a better deal? It’s just hands down practical. A little nudging, a few uncomfortable moves near the lady’s chest and posterior areas, and your work is done!
There’s no point unwittingly or otherwise Bollywood has often equated love with offensive acts like stalking and harassment. It’s time we stop this alarming practice, and speak out in large numbers every time we spot something similar. We would really appreciate our love songs without toxic patriarchal practices added swad anusar. Won’t we?