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‘Yeh Saali Zindagi’ – Can you say it comfortably?

Way back in 1993-94, we had a heated debate among college friends on the famous song from ‘Khalnayak’ movie, ‘ Choli Ke Peeche Kya hai’. No wonder only two of us (girls) were against the song and the rest thoroughly liked and enjoyed it. There argument was, ‘its just naughty’ or ‘when you see the artistic picturisation, you don’t feel bad about the lyrics’. How artistic!! (Incidentaly the only artistes (involved with theatre & paintings) in the group were the two of us who were against the lyrics of the song). Even the director, producer and lyricist of the song said, ‘listen to the second line of the song. It is actually talking about the ‘dil’!’. Glad to know our filmmakers are so pure and innocent!!!!

My friend argued then, that, because of our acceptance of such objectionable songs and words in movies by giving naive, superficial arguments, the society will slowly and certainly get sucked in the swamp of immoral culture. That is what is really happening. Item numbers have become a norm and craze among people. They are made in the most suggestive, raunchy way for cheap publicity. ‘Munni badnam’ and ‘Sheila’ are being played everywhere and kids come home and complain – ‘ Ma’am scolds us if we sing these songs’. Is the teacher wrong? Of course not! But the child is confused! Do we want our kids, particularly boys, to consider the opposite sex only as an object of carnal desires? Or do we want them to consider the two sexes as intelligent, equal partners who help and compliment each other in life? If the second is true, then why do we accept and applaud these songs?

And now our philosophical, bitten by reality bug, filmmakers have begun the trend of using cuss words in songs andmore glaringly in movie titles, with the argument of portraying the real world through art. The latest is ‘ Yeh _____ Zindagi’. I simply cannot bring myself to utter that word. But our esteemed director of the movie says everyone uses that word. (Our kids will certainly get used to it soon!). His reaction to the censor board’s objection to the word is that, ‘saali is not gaali!’ Funny!! Mr. Director, try saying it to someone on the streets. You certainly will be the next road rage victim!

Art is very much a part of society and it is responsible and answerable to the society. Ancient Indian culture was one which had strong moral values without being impractical. ‘Kamasutra’ was written because it is a basic need of life, to be practiced within the limits of Grihasta dharma. There wasn’t anything ‘bold’ about it, as the world sees it today. That was the period when women were respected for their abilities and beauty was admired in a respectful manner. The way women are portrayed in today’s Indian movies, is very derogatory. The filmmakers and actors should feel the responsibility towards the average women in cities, towns and villages. The image of women created by these movies has made it difficult for women to step out of the house without the fear of being stalked, teased, or raped. She is not safe even at home. Cases of rape by male relatives, of girls as young as 3 year old and as old as 75 years, are becoming frequent.

Dharmendra is fondly remembered for his ‘Kutte-kaminey’ dialogue. Is this something to be applauded, in the name of art? Where have our standards gone? Why do film makers make such hue and cry when the censor board objects to something objectionable?! They are least bothered about the society and degradation of our cultural ethos. Rapes have become everyday affairs and a single cuss word uttered leads to murder! But who cares! Monetary return is the only important factor for film makers, which will certainly dwindle if their movie gets an A-Certificate!


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12 Responses

  1. Nice article…..and i agree tht these people shld take some responsibility but what are we doing?
    Supply is there only when there is demand..
    .We make this kind of movie hit by watchin and thn filmmaker feels this is what audience want…so instead of blamin other, we shld stop watchin…how many of us watch doordarshan nowsadays….why dont we promote to watch doordarshan and we can do that only whn we switch to it, instead of watchin some stupid serials and nonsense newschannel…

    • Yes! This is actually the problem- Supply is there because there’s demand! Majority people do not even know what is beauty or art, because they have never been exposed to good things. Its something like- when a lie is told again and again, people know it to be the truth. Unless we show our kids the beauty of classics, how will they what pure entertainment is? Compare Amol Palekar’s ‘Golmal’ with the latest ‘Golmaal’ movies! The former was such soft soothing humour, while the latter is so loud and superficial! Unfortunately, we all know the perils of the excessively liberal western culture and still we are embracing it.

  2. it’s good

  3. It is growingly getting difficult to control what kids hear and learn because of the way these movies and songs sound. Yes, as parents we are strict but we cannot restrict our kids’ social interactions and that is when the problem starts when they find the world singing about badnam munni and only themselves getting scolded…
    I also have an objection with the ways advertisements about certain products are made nowadays. My son asked me one day to buy a certain product that was better protecting from rains than the umbrella as it was shown in that shape and soaking all the water in. Do they think that only women watch ads that are projected for them? By calling themselves broadminded people are easily crossing the line between dececy and indecency..

    • Not just advertisements! I am wondering if I should encourage my child to develop the habit of reading newspaper daily. The pictures, particularly in the supplements hardly leave anything to imagination. Its really a very-very difficult situation for parents. May be we should have some faith in our genes and education!!

  4. Never knew there was a movie with such a name! I agree totally with your viewpoint. It’s not only publicity which happens through movies – something shown in movies is seen by impressionable minds as having gained a modicum of ‘social acceptability’. I hear that the Bar Association or some body complained to the sensor board against the foul language in ‘No One Killed Jessica’, to which the Censor Board chairperson responded to the effect that people did use such language and the movie only showed reality! So if ALL reality is to be shown, what is the Censor Board there for?

    Reg. the songs, there were such songs in the earlier era also, like ‘Aanchal Mein Kya Ji’, and it’s difficult to argue for or against the aesthetics. I hear some persons in Lucknow intend to file a case against the ‘Munni’ and ‘Sheila’ songs. Kudos to them.

    The overall social effect is apparent, as detailed by you. And while not all the blame can perhaps be laid at the door of movies, they ARE an important instigator (as well as an indicator) of social norms, and as such should bear their social responsibility.

    Thanks to Srikanta for sharing a new perspective. Hope all HR practices adhere to such robustness, which should to a long way towards toning down unhealthy aggression at least in the workplace.

    • Last sentence should read “which should go a long way…”.

    • The movie is going to hit the theatres and then its posters will be everywhere! This movie was initially named ‘Dil dar-badar’. Wasn’t this a more artistic/romantic name? But obviously, the current name is going to attract more people!

  5. i think what these film makers show is already a part of our society. its just that when our actors use these cuss words in movies it becomes sort of publisised, and also becomes glamorous among teenagers.yeah films do have social responsibilty as they are the biggest source of entertainment for the society. but dont you think our film makers are doing their best for making good , entertaining movies…and in the process alot like this happens.

    • Movies have tremendous impact on youngsters. What is already a (bad) part of society, which everyone knows is bad should be avoided for the good of society. Showing something which the youngsters can innocently imitate, is not being responsible. Can Malaika Arora Khan tolerate if her husband or son (when he grows up) clap lustily to the tunes of some bar dancer in real life? Its vulgarity not reality or art! ‘No one killed Jessica’ is a fantastic movie based on reality. But such movies which require strong language should be given an A certificate. Do read Mr. Srikanta Mohanty’s comment on the effect of bad language.

  6. The worst thing is after getting used to speak language full of slangs, one unknowingly gets tuned to its aggressive body language. I notice this as an instructor of communication management. Those guys who speak very aggressive language outside try to restrain themselves from it in the interviews and group discussion for jobs. But one can consciously control his language but body language and gestures, even the posture remain the same. The result is rejection by the hirers. Grown up young girls even speak unbelievably foul language.

    • So very true! I wish our film makers read your comment and I wish people stop taking these things lightly in the name of entertainment. Thanks for sharing your experience.