All India Bakchod’s ‘The Bollywood Diva Song’ starring Kangana Ranaut is a hit. The actor is seen promoting her upcoming film ‘Simran’ and also performing a role that calls out every day sexism in the very industry she works in. Bollywood. We know that Kangana is not afraid to call a spade a spade especially when it comes to her workplace and its many big names. Or families. Aren’t they the same in Bollywood?
Written by Manaswi Mohata Anuya Jakatdar Ayesha Nair and Supriya Joshi, the song is a parody of Chittiyan Kalaayiyaan which was a hit in itself. Don’t ask what that song meant. They never really mean anything. Applause to the script writers for hitting the nail on its head in this one.
Here is a compilation of nine instances that will make you go ‘I know!’ if you have even glanced at film industry from afar.
1. Female lead? Here is your toilet paper. Err… Script
Of course. It doesn’t matter if the female lead has a script to go by. The same reason why in the video, it is clearly stated that the female lead’s script is written on toilet paper. What is she in the film for anyway. For some hip swaying, love making, pretty costume and generally being a thing in the frame. Forget toilet paper. Why would such a person have a script at all!
2. Mansplaining is our motto
Film industry listens to its actors. If they are male. If you are a woman and you are perplexed by the bizarre dialogues and go to the director, they will first look at you and try to figure out who you are. Because that’s how much role and importance you are given in the film. You should define yourself not as the female lead but as the ‘love interest’.
Of course, what other point can there be in a female lead’s role than to be the hero’s girlfriend. Oh by the way, if you suggest that the lines be changed, the director will do major mansplaining by ‘baby’ing you and calling you ‘cute’. Then he will call you a ‘diva’ when you are out of his sight. Enter hero. He says the same thing to the director and it is readily accepted. Ah, if mansplaining was a business, film industry would definitely be super wealthy.
The lyrics of the song are super spot on too. The rest of the discrimination is narrated with the chorus ‘cos I have (a) vagina re’. It numbers things that are done to actors just because they are women. Here are some of them.
3. Item song
What else than this ‘genre’ that is dedicated exclusively for people to look at women’s bodies. The director in the video says the same. That they have to ‘titillate’ the audience for it to be a hit. And the method of titillation is making women dance in their chaddis and printing photos of their cleavage in newspapers, as the song says. Don’t you know? Cleavage is what women act out of. Duh!
4. The Glass ceiling
Rima Kallingal, a leading actor in the Malayalam film industry had once spoken about how real the glass ceiling is, in the film industry. She had said that it was ‘real’ and that there was no support system. AIB’s song says the same thing. Good, at least people will start wondering what ‘glass ceiling’ means and google it. As you know, googling is the first step towards attaining wisdom.
5. Men getting intimidated
Because they are not used to women having an opinion. When a woman calls out sexism in the film industry or any place, for that matter, there appears a group that calls them feminazi. They become all defensive and almost cry listing the many blessings they showered on women. ‘Why you no see the nice clothes I got you’ kind of stupidity. The same happens when the hero calls Kangana’s character a feminazi and enumerate the ‘favours’ his lot had already done the women. Like ‘letting’ them smoke cigarettes, assign the role of a ‘modern girl’ whatever that means and give them gaalis [swear words] to say etc.
6. The pay gap
Yes, it is real. Women get paid less than men for the same job. Taking a dig at Shah Rukh Khan, the song mentions his practice of putting the female lead’s name before his own in the credits. For all that token feminism, the women turn around and ask the hero then why it is that his pay cheque has more zeros in it. Yeah. Actually. Why?
7. Paedophilia and rape
Okay people. Let’s call it what it is. Mainstream Bollywood love stories are bordering on paedophilia, abuse, rape. I mean why is it that you always have a teenagish looking woman whom the hero who is in late forties or fifties tries to woo? The whole sex culture in films is based on making women look more and more like children. No body hair, thin limbs, do you see where this is going? Thank heavens for this video that has called it by the name it deserves.
It also says how a ‘no’ from a woman is taken for a ‘yes’. This is the basics of consent but to hell with it because Bollywood. Our country is okay with marital rape and as the cinema of the same country, we shall be okay with all kinds of rape. Hurrah!
Oh, when a female actor marries, it is considered that her career is over, and it is, most of the time. Very few women have returned to silverscreen and that too after many years of marriage. [Srividya, Kajol…] They give the female actors older roles. But the hero? He is forever 18. He is forever romancing older heroines’ daughter, if he so wishes. Question: When the hero’s age stops adding after 18 does his brain development stop there too? It sure looks like that by the look of things.
Come on, what is a video with Kangana in it doing without a mention of nepotism. The lyrics go,
‘Papa ne tujhko launch kiya ve
Main boli toh tu ne taunt kiya ve
Tu karti victim play
Cos I have vagina re’
No one needs to remind us about the row that Kangana started in Bollywood about star kids and their privileges, about famous directors and their nepotism. Yes, it is a big family and the rule is that what happens in a family stays in the family. Murder, rape, corruption all of it.
The ending note of the song is also a reminder of how the public discourse always equates an opinion to being ‘ballsy’ and as having ‘mardani’ [masculinity] At this point, Kangana is almost weeping out of frustration. She explains how that is a stupid thing to say. Everyone can have an opinion. Everyone can be brave. If you think that is ‘ballsy’ it is because you believe that it is the monopoly of males. That makes you a dinosaur. A sexist dinosaur.
Watch the whole video here