India is famous around the world for its food, culture, music, beautiful women, and Bollywood. The film industry of India is well-known for its typical romantic movies and dance numbers or item songs, as we call it.

In these item numbers, women have beautiful curvy bodies and almost minimal clothing. Why are item songs added in movies, and what exactly is their purpose? In simple words, they have absolutely no relevance with the plot of the film. The sole purpose of item songs is to grab the attention of the male audience. 

It is amusing how for decades, the industry has fooled us into listening to such songs. The misogynistic Indian film industry keeps adding item numbers that have sexist lyrics, plus half of the listeners don’t find any issues in the songs. 

Item Numbers And The Indian Film Industry

Iconic songs of the 70s and 80s were full of beautiful melodies and romance. The famous song Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein describes a sense of entitlement over the woman and that she was sent on earth for him. 

The modern scenario has worsened. Except making sense, singers like Yo Yo Honey Singh and Badshah sing about everything from racism to body shaming.

Sheela Ki Javani by Vishal Dadlani, Munni Badnam Hui, Fevicol, Mercy and Buzz by Badshah, and Breakup Party by Honey Singh are some of the many sexist songs that Indians love. 

These songs are promoted in a manner that women are enjoying dancing on the tunes but in reality, no one would do that. Shockingly, celebrities like Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, and Deepika Padukone were a part of such item numbers. Item numbers are straight-up offensive and they might even be dangerous for society. 

Now, how can we leave Bollywood movies behind? Movies are like a reflection of society. They mirror the problems, issues, and perceptions of the people. 

“These healthy chicks, they’re like teddy bears. A good-looking chick and a healthy chick, trust me, it’s a great combination.”

This is one of the many questionable dialogues of Kabir Singh, one of the highest-grossing films of 2019. It portrayed an abusive relationship as a form of love. The main lead, played by Shahid Kapoor, was shown as a person who treats his lover like his property.

Also Read: FlippED: Will Society Accept Kabir Singh If It Was A Female Character?

Representation Of Women In Indian Cinema

In several movies, a perfect or an ideal woman is shown as someone submissive, frail, and doesn’t argue with anyone. Such films don’t depict reality, and they portray an inaccurate representation of a woman’s capabilities. As a result, they sow seeds of inequality in the minds of the viewers. 

In 2017 a report was released by the Geena Davis Institute. According to the report, only one in ten directors in Bollywood are women. Statistics show that the screen time for females was merely 31.5 percent as compared to the 68.5 percent received by male actors.

On-screen time for males and females.

1The female characters in movies are largely shown in a male perspective because most scriptwriters and directors in the industry are male. Pink, which questions society’s mindset, male superiority, and skewed ideas of perfect womanhood, didn’t have any female writers. 

On the positive side, more and more female-centric movies are being made. Movies such as Mary Kom, Pink, Neerja, Shakuntala Devi, Tumhari Sulu, and Mardaani are the perfect example of films where women are breaking the boundaries and pushing the limits to achieve success.

Female-centric movies over the years. Data-2017


The biggest obstacle is the mentality of some set of people in our country. They think that the entertainment media is encouraging bad habits by talking about such issues. 

These are the same people who believe that girls should not have western thinking or wear western clothes because it disrupts traditional values. The recent issue of ripped-jeans is the perfect example of that. 

The actors and actresses in Bollywood or any film industry must be paid equally without any discrimination, and sexism shouldn’t be tolerated at all, it should be called out instead of silently enduring it. 

Item numbers encourage many crimes like stalking, teasing, objectifying, molesting, and even fat-shaming. The thought that this is all okay has to stop right now. Music creators and listeners together have to bring this change that is much-needed in the current scenario.

The change is slow but there is much work to be done. People should be empathetic and sensitive towards portraying women and the problems that they face.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: The WireFlutin, Times of India, The MIT Post

Find The Blogger: @PrernaMagan

This Post Is Tagged Under: Bollywood and women, Why Bollywood is obsessed with item numbers, Representation of women in the Indian film industry, Film industry, Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, Shabana Azmi, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Badshah, Sexism, Equal Pay, women, men, education, sexist songs, sexist songs in Bollywood, discrimination, feminism, Equal opportunities, Shahid Kapoor, Kabir Singh, Kiara Advani, Pink, Tapsee Pannu, Mardaani, Rani Mukherji, Female centric movies, stalking, teasing, objectifying, molesting, Fat shaming, crimes, music creators, listeners, Mary Kom, mindset, Neerja, Shakuntala Devi, Tumhari Sulu, Piku, Amitabh Bachchan, ripped jeans, Uttrakhand CM

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