The stance of item numbers in Bollywood movies has always been a controversial topic as many have supported them saying they are good for the promotion of the film and others have simply found them objectionable and vulgar. With the onset of #MeToo movement in India, many actors and filmmakers have claimed that objectifying women in the songs is not graceful and the most popular director-producer Karan Johar has recently gone on record to say he will never have item songs like Chikni Chameli in his movies. Karan Johar, who has had several item songs in his films including 'Chikni Chameli' (Agneepath) and 'Mera Naam Mary Hai' (Brothers), recently admitted his mistake of objectifying women through his songs and promised that he will never have item numbers in his movies from now on.
In a recent interview with Film Companion, while speaking about whether the #MeToo movement will bring about a change in our films' content, Karan Johar said,"I have gone on record and apologized that I have had item songs in my feature films and I don't think I would do it again. I have no problem with like a girl dancing, that's not an item number. An item song is when she is objectified and when there are men lusting for her like 'Chikni Chameli'. I don't think I would ever do that again. It's never gonna happen in a Dharma Productions film and I will make sure of it. Like 'Desi Girl' is not an item song but 'Chikni Chameli' is. And, I don't think I would do it."
"I have grown up singing to 'Khambe Jaisi Khadi Hai, Ladki Hai Ya Chadi Hai' and I didn't even realize what those words are. Then you suddenly sing that song and you are like, 'Oh My God! This is so misogynistic'. And, it's absolutely ridiculous that we have done it and a lead actor like Aamir Khan had danced on that song. He himself, on my show, has actually said that 'I did this and I apologise like I wouldn't do it again'. We don't even think what these words are. Like I've no problem with brilliantly written and a beautiful song. Just the way how Gulzar saab wrote the songs of 'Omkara'. They are stunning! 'Zabaan Pe Lagaa, Lagaa Re, Namak Ishq Ka' - is beautiful. Even 'Bidi Jalaile'. It's the way you picturize a song like that. You've got to kind of make sure that you don't because eventually we are a very impressionable medium."
Katrina Kaif, however, has a completely different opinion on the matter. The actress who has appeared in Bollywood's most popular dance numbers namely 'Sheila Ki Jawaani', 'Dhoom Machale', 'Chikni Chameli' and 'Husn Parcham', says she never ever felt objectified while shooting these songs.
"Oh, I didn't know that was said, but I feel very differently on the matter. I feel it's all down to the individual who is performing the song. Madonaa, who I'm sure we all know of, I don't think she is feeling objectified. I don't think Beyonce who performs in a swimsuit on stage is feeling objectified. It's all about how you feel while you are performing that song. I can tell you, I never felt objectified in 'Chikni Chameli'. I enjoyed that song. I enjoyed the dance, I enjoyed what I was doing. I didn't even for a moment felt objectified or brought any kind of wrong eyes on me. Not at all," Katrina told DNA during an exclusive chat.
"...There are many times when people ask me for songs and there's no context to it. I won't do it, nomatter how much I feel about dance. We don't need to characterize it that every song that a woman is celebrating herself and performing, that's not objectifying women. It all depends on the angle and lens it's being seen," Katrina concluded.
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