By Rozina Bhutto
When Kangana Ranaut grooves to, “Khub maare maine yahaan aake thumke… aaj jana tum bhi mere baatein sunke”, you know you’re in for a fun ride. Sexism must not always be discussed in hushed conference rooms, hard-hitting interviews with Barkha Dutt, or street protests. All India Backchod (AIB) shows us an extremely sexist way of tackling sexism.
Take a hot model with a hot bod, place her on a grand golden set, sprinkle in some thumkas and you’ve got the perfect recipe to counter gender discrimination. It is ironic, yes. But is it effective? Hell, yes!
Manaswi Mohata, Anuya Jakatdar, Ayesha Nair, and Supriya Joshi – the lyricists – deserve an award for capturing the true essence of sexism prevalent in the entertainment industry. There is a huge pay gap between the two genders, the stories revolve around the male protagonist while the female actress coos around in sexy clothes (even if she happens to have a phD), and objectifying women for a hit item number is a rule of thumb.
Case in point are movies like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum.
The film was all about how one brother falls in love with the wrong woman and is forced to abandon his family while the other sets off to win his brother back. Meanwhile, the father takes all the major decisions and ruins everyone’s life. Kareena Kapoor, Kajol, and Jaya Bachhan are only there to egg their respective men’s on.
Do our A-list female celebrities agree with what AIB and Kangana have to say about sexism in showbiz? We find out!
Khan is the definition of an A-list actress and we were oh-so-keen to know how she feels about Kanagana and AIB’s anti-sexism anthem (yes, we’ll call it that because it is much more than a song).
“I get it but our industry has other struggles right now. Both men and women are fighting to get rid of the stereotypes within the roles we play,” says Mahira quite passionately.
She totally loved the song! We could sense it from her vocal tones.
“Dude, I love the lyrics. I love the concept! It is SO apt!”
And when we asked her to pick her favourite part from the song; she had a really hard time.
“I love the part when she says kuch bola tou diva Bulaye re, and also the pedophilia part, and when she says objectify the kaliyaan…I mean I love the chorus. It is brilliant!”
She ends on a high with, “It is a masterpiece!” Yup, we think so too.
This talented actress completely agrees with the anthem.
“I love it. I thinks it is applicable everywhere and the Pakistani media industry in particular since that’s my point of reference.”
She even shares her favourite part from the song,
“Kuch boloin tau diva bulaeinya ray, Opinion pallu mein chupaya re!
We know this young singer isn’t afraid of facing the dangerous specie that is Twitter Trolls. Someone who can do that can certainly relate with Kangana’s struggle to voice her opinion without being blamed of playing the “woman card” – whatever it is.
“AIB’s video with Kangana is a funny take on the sad reality. A lot of the lines resonated with me, especially “Sach bolun tou Diva bulayen re“. Literally, you have to think several times about the choice of your words before giving an opinion because being a woman, having an opinion makes you a diva.”
Another one of her favourite part is, “Objectify even my kalaiyaan re”, because according to her, “It is hard to make people see you as a personality rather than just a face.”
“Brave hona kab mardaana hua re?” Now that is a pertinent question and Momina (along with Kangana, of course) thinks so too.
“This [part] is my most favourite. Why can’t braveness be a feminine attribute?”
Because this is a patriarchal society Momina and the bearers of XY chromosome can’t digest the fact that we have a vagina and they don’t.
She always has the most intelligent yet fun response to every situation, be it our scripts or parlour aunties. We still can’t get over how funny her ‘Chai le kar aati hoon’ Instagram post was!
“I think it’s fantastic! The song uses humour to drive home one of the oldest truths in showbiz: if you are a woman, you will likely be objectified, put in a cute little box, and requested to stay in said box for as long as you don’t have the brains to realise what a terrible and confining space that is,” Sethi explains the plight of female actresses perfectly.
Is this the stereotyping Mahira Khan was speaking about?
“Kangana is currently leading an important debate in Bollywood about the agency of female actors, and I love that this song takes us gently by the hand to show us some dark and difficult truths,” she adds.
When we asked Mira if she could relate with the song, like Mahira, she didn’t have a definite yes or no. But she did try to explain the scenario with an example.
“It happens early on in one’s career. But if you [for example] want to change the script, it depends entirely on your director’s vision and feeling about the role. I’ve worked with directors who’ve been very open to amending lines – and even nuances in a role – but I’ve also worked with directors who won’t let you change a word.
Syra has never shied away from giving her opinion on anything ever, but she likes to keep things sane instead of going all out crazy!
“I understand their point and admire her for being fearless and fierce but this is distasteful,” she tells us when we contact her for a comment.
What exactly did she find distasteful?
“Like I said I understand where she’s coming from but the way it’s put out there is distasteful. Call me old fashioned I guess haha.”
We’ve become huge fans of Urwa ever since we saw her ace the Punjabi Kuri character in Punjab Nahi Jaongi. And we are even more impressed since she was the first Pakistani celebrity to give a thumbs up to Kangana’s video on Twitter.
— URWA HOCANE (@VJURWA) September 12, 2017
Meanwhile, some of our celebrities refused to comment on the song stating, “We wouldn’t want to be part of this.” And ‘this’, by the way, is discrimination faced by women at workplace.
The Bollywood Diva song is an anthem for all the women who believe in equality (which basically means feminism, but some people are averse to the word so we tend to use its definition instead). While the entire song hits home, this part made us nod so hard, our skull almost popped out:
“Coz I have vagina rey, objectify even my kalaiyaan rey!”
Let’s all please say, “Muqarar, muqarar”?