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Run Decency Run

Friday, June 03, 2011

One doesn’t know what it is—either we have lost our capacity for outrage, we are too afraid of being labelled prudish. But hasn’t anybody noticed how bawdy some of the new film songs are?

At one time there had been an uproar when ‘Hum tum ek kamre mein band hon, aur chabi kho jaaye’ (Bobby, 1973) hit the radio.  Today, FM stations play ‘Bhaag DK Bose’ selling it as ‘cool’.

Amazingly, Aamir Khan Productions and UTV Motion Pictures are having a party to celebrate the “success and encouraging response from the audience,” of the song, at which this “and few others will be sung live by the creators of the song in presence of the cast and the crew of the film Delhi Belly.”
Of course, the more people express dismay at such a song playing all over and being sung by kids with glee (the tune is very catchy), the more mileage the film gets.

Parents teach kids not to swear, but how can they tell their kids it is wrong to use cusswords, if popular songs have words like ‘Oonche se ooncha banda potty pe baithe nanga’ (Dum Maaro Dum), ‘Karma is a bitch’ (Shor in the City), ‘Benamak beasar, daal jaisi agar ghar ki murgi aa jaye to, pyaar lo pyaar do’ (Thank You),  ‘Tu gandi achhi lagti hai’ (Love Sex Aur Dhoka – the censors, for once, cut ‘nangi’).

Times are tough for filmmakers, and they have to grab attention to get their opening numbers at the box-office. If quality can’t do it, why not try controversy?  Why not outrage people?  And then snicker about the prudes who object to these songs. However, in their quest for being in the news, film songs have gone from sexy or suggestive to disgusting and lewd. Cusswords like ‘saala’, ‘sasura,’ ‘kameena’, ‘kambakht’ have already found their way into the lexicon of lyrics, and if three-year-olds sing ‘Pappu can’t dance saala’, or ‘Ae saala’,  parents can’t even tell them not to use the word as an abuse in real life. 

As it is, songs have been reduced to ‘items’ and TV spots; sometimes, a raunchy, catchy item number is all that remains in memory, after the film in which it appeared has fallen out of memory. People may have forgotten what Dabangg and Tees Maar Khan were about, but ‘Munni badnaam hui’ and ‘Sheela ki jawani’ will be hummed and talked about as long as item numbers are used by filmmakers and discussed by the media.

Try to recall which films had the item number ‘Babuji zara dheere chalo’, ‘Dilli ki sardi’, ‘Aisa jadoo daala re’, or ‘It’s rocking’?  Chances are you won’t.

There was a time when a huge furore was raised over ‘Choli ke peechay kya hai’ (in Subhash Ghai’s Khalnayak) and the censors had demanded that the words ‘sexy’ from the ‘song sexy sexy mujhe log bolein’ (Khuddar) be changed to ‘Baby baby’. Times, obviously have changed, and decency does not count for anything, only success does.

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