Boy meets girl. Boy finds girl attractive. Girl says she is not interested. Boy runs around her, tries to get physical. Girl still not interested.
Now there are two paths to this story. One, the age old Bollywood path of the girl eventually yielding to the boy’s advances. Second, the path which Pink talked about – the issue of consent, and how the girl is genuinely not interested. Which do you think is more reflective of real life situations?
In this regard, renowned comedy group AIB has come up with its new video on the issue of sexual harassment in Bollywood movies and songs. An undoubtedly hilarious take on this serious matter, it is also one of their most meaningful work, in that it forces us to look closely at songs which we have hummed for many years now, and how in many ways, we, as a society, have internalized sexual harassment.
In India, depictions and understanding of love and romance has been shaped predominantly by Bollywood. Whether it is superman-like acts of the hero, or song lyrics, mainstream cinema has defined the Indian definition of love since time immemorial. This is why perhaps the blatant sexual harassment that Bollywood has promoted for decades, has gone hitherto unnoticed, and ignored. We have had endless movies, and songs where the hero has stalked, harassed, and gone after the heroine, and this behavior has ultimately resulted in the heroine getting impressed by his ‘efforts’ and eventually falling in love with him.
It is quite sad that unknowingly, generations of Indians have normalized sexual harassment, and this is why when the issue is gaining prominence and women are speaking up, their claims are often dismissed. Because Bollywood has taught us for years that women eventually come around. Until now, when Pink has spoken up loud and clear, that when a woman says NO, she means NO.
It is not easy to change mindsets and reshape age old beliefs regarding the non existence of consent, and realizing that many of our favourite songs over the years do indicate sexual harassment. However with this video, AIB has certainly made us sit up and think. Kudos to them!
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