Item songs in Bollywood, by virtue, are meant to entice. If you aren’t well-versed with the ‘chart-topping’ ones, it is essentially women calling themselves ‘Tandoori murgi’ and opening themselves to objectification, which is not only disgraceful but also problematic. Thank God, makers are finally waking up and smelling the coffee, especially after the #MeToo movement that shook the industry. Case in point, Karan Johar who recently pledged that he will never make another ‘Chikni Chameli’ and its likes.
KJo, in talk with Film Companion’s Anupama Chopra, 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’.” He also differentiated that women dancing is not the issue but it’s the way that’s been shot. He added, “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.”
While that is that, Katrina Kaif, who apart from Chikni Chameli has featured in several popular dance numbers like, Sheila Ki Jawaani, Suraiya and most recently Husn Parcham, has a different opinion. The actress, who is loved for her dance numbers said that she never felt objectified while shooting these songs. when asked about Karan’s pledge, Kat told DNA, “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…
Not just that, she also revealed that she lets down a lot of those numbers because she does only the ones that she believes in. “There are many times when people ask me for songs and there’s no context to it. I won’t do it, no matter 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,” adds Katrina.