Religion, culture and item songs

A few days ago I saw a very interesting post by Hamza Ali Abbasi regarding item songs in pakistani movies and since then I have been thinking of doing this post.

For those who don’t know what I am talking about, have a look

Now, I respect hamza Ali Abbasi a lot for certain things. And speaking his mind on social media and creating awareness over issues he thinks are important for the nation definitely tops the list. I’m also really glad that although he did Jawani Phir Nahi Aani due to his close friendship with Humayon Saeed, he opted out of the second installment as he does not like how commercial cinema is objectifying women.

So as i mentioned above, I’ve been thinking about all this quite a lot lately and I’m not sure what the correct answer is.

As soon as a new Bollywood item song comes out, it becomes all the rage. We see girls dancing on Shiela ki Jawani and Baby Doll Main Soney  Ki in front of their parents St weddings and their parents smiling at them with pride.

Then comes out an item song from a pakistani movie which is like 1000 times tamer than songs like Chikni Chameli and the whole platoon of disco mullahs, keyboard warriors and Internet muftis is suddenly worried about culture and religion. And their main concern becomes the dehumanising and objectification of women in these songs.

While I have failed to understand this hypocrisy, I have failed to understand many other things too which revolve around the dehumanising and objectification of women.

I personally feel that in patriarchal societies like ours, women are objectified in every day lives a lot. Don’t believe me? Then please Google the news where man raped a woman, he was punished by making another man rape his sister.

And this is definitely not the only case of this sort. Vani is a common practice in a lot of different regions in pakistan and no one even gives a second thought about it after reading such news as women are considered unworthy creatures (read objects) who are only there to satisfy needs of men (be it in the form of a sister, mother or wife). So what if a man murders someone as long as he has a virgin sister who he can offer as Vani.

Now, do these in any way fit in our religious values? No, a straight no. So do they fit in our cultural values? Perhaps yes.

Women are not only objectified in rural areas. It’s common practice in our urban setting as well. Oh, you don’t believe me? Then, perhaps you have never heard of cases where men throw acid on women’s faces because they rejected their proposal? I mean, how could they dare reject someone? They are mere objects with no emotions or feelings. If a guy has stalked them, has made attempts at molesting them, they should just somehow fall in love and get married.

I can’t find any Islamic reference to support this, so I am thinking this sort of objectification somehow stems out from our culture as well.

Finally, these worthless objects seem to be carrying the burden of whole family’s honour on their shoulders (or I should say in between their legs) as well. So a chaste woman is not supposed to have any sexual desires at all. She should only be able to satisfy her husband’s desires. She is after all just an object to be used as and when desired by its rightful owner.

Digging deep into our culture, we have also have mujras and bacha bazi in different parts of the country…practiced in the name of culture.

With this patriarchal mentality rampant in our society, we sit down to watch an item song and enjoy it on our own but get embarrassed if our family is sitting with us. Why? Because we can’t see a woman displaying her sensuality? Because we think we should cover and protect a woman’s sexuality? Or because we are really concerned about how women are being compared to  supari to be chewed?

I personally believe that item songs (or dance numbers or whatever you may want to call them) should be added in movies but the lyrics and the performance on the song should be tasteful and classy. Of course people go to the cinema to be entertained and not to be preached but this entertainment does not necessarily has to come by comparing women with cats. The women don’t have to been seen dancing surrounded by 100s of lewd men trying to grope them.

If you don’t know what a classy item song is, please watch this video and remind yourself of one of the best item song in history.

Also, more stories need to be written with women as strong characters rather than just eye candy. There will be no need for item songs then as a lot of women are agreeing to these item songs as it’s lucrative for them in terms of money. If there are enough good stories with strong female characters, chances are that women will be busy playing those roles rather than thrusting their chests in our faces.

*the second image has been taken from a Facebook page called ‘Comics by Saeeda’

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Beauty Within

Written by Sumayya Feroz

According to our society’s standards a person is only beautiful if he or she has a fair skin tone. The people with dark skin tone mostly get bullied from their childhood by their friends, teachers, relatives and specially the old age aunties which are found in every family who have right to criticize every one’s appearance, these type of persons can find “a mole” on some one’s face but not beauty in the heart. God knows who gave them this right to judge a person like some show piece. Due to this fairness craze girls use different whitening creams which contain huge amount of mercury, steroids and other harmful chemicals, in the beginning these creams give you a fair colour and then after some time the skin condition get worse.

People out there listen to me very carefully; you are beautiful in your own way.

A pearl is pearl either it is black or white nothing can bring down its value. Your creator made you in the best form. And the people who humiliate you have an inferiority complex so they get satisfaction by laid down others. When someone can’t do something good by themselves then they criticize others who are better than them in any way.

If someone asks me ever where we can find beauty or what is beauty? I can easily say beauty is everywhere, beauty is in the world, beauty is in the white and beauty is in the black.

Love you All

Muqabil (review) Episode 21 – 22

For the past two months, Muqabil has slowed down a great deal. I feel that in one episode they show the happenings of only one day (in terms of the time span being shown) . And that might be the reason why they have so many filler scenes and so many conversations that don’t seem to be going anywhere. We all do that at home with our family members, right? But when we are watching a serial, we want each and every scene to somehow contribute to the progress of the story. Unfortunately for the past several episodes, Muqabil has been full of such futile conversations. However the good thing about Muqabil is just when I’m losing hope, it hits me with a shock, a surprise, a twist in the story which is completely unpredictable.

Since arman found the truth about his father, the story was going round in circles. Although I did understand what arman was going through, I found it a little difficult to digest many of his dialogues even with his flawless acting. I kind of knew that arman is angry with Pareesa because he thought that Pareesa has used him against his own father as revenge but it came a lot later than I expected. The conversation between arman and Pareesa should have been in the previous episode. That might have saved us from a lot of tantrums that arman has been throwing since. Anyway, better late than never. Perhaps they wanted everyone to feel and sympathise with arman. So yes, great scene where Pareesa is trying really hard to save her marriage with arman because she loves him and arman is just trying hard to get away from all of them because he considers himself the real victim here. I really liked his dialogues and the way they both delivered them (Mohsin Abbas needs to improve his urdu a bit more) and what was the best part of the episode was the last bit! Yes, arman’s mother has overheard them! And with her screaming capabilities, I’m hoping she will be able to tell the rest of the world.

I have watched na maloom afraad and I thought kubra khan and Mohsin Abbas haider were the real weak links of the movie. Fast forward a few years and they have turned into a treat to watch. They have an amazing chemistry, great on screen presence and impeccable acting skills. The way Mohsin Abbas haider looked at kubra khan in the last scene when she was leaving the room was done so well. The expression on his face was that of a man who was completely helpless: someone so deeply in love but who has no choice but to let go of his love.

So anyway, now that arman’s Mommy hopefully knows the truth, I’m expecting a power packed and happening episode next week. I hope they don’t drag it further and can finish it off in 24-25 episodes.