India has been the center of attention in the whole world, as far as rape is concerned. The country was put to shame in late 2012 when an appalling incident regarding the rape of a 23 year old student Jyoti Singh by six men on a moving bus surfaced. India’s renowned veteran actor Om Puri has recently placed blame on item songs for inciting incidents of rape.
According to a leading Indian newspaper, Puri divulged, “These item songs are vulgar. In today’s films, these songs have (dance) movements which are as if they have reached the climax of sex. They are picturised so vulgarly. Pardon my language, but if someone wants to release their pent up sexual frustration, they can just buy a DVD and play that song. In olden days like in the 60s, 70s or 80s, there were cabarets. But those were so elegantly picturised.”
“And I am sure these item songs today incite rapes. Back in the olden days, there weren’t so many rape incidents happening. They are so provocatively picturised today”.
In the recent films, item songs have become a regular feature in Bollywood. The provocative dance moves as well as lyrics of the song have invited criticisms from the conservative elements of India. Bollywood actresses such as Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Sunny Leone, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Mallika Sherawat and Malaika Arora Khan have fortified their careers as actresses based on performing for popular item songs. Once considered taboo, these songs have now become the most popular way to hype a film.
The popular trend of item songs have also caught Pakistan by force and a couple of actresses have performed to them. Mehwish Hayat enthralled Pakistani audiences with her Billi performance as well. Just like Om Puri’s criticism of item songs, certain artists within Pakistan, such as Hamza Ali Abbasi, have also spoken out against item songs and labelled them against Pakistan’s culture.