The session on “Sex and Sensibility: Women in Cinema” featuring Shabana Azmi and Prasoon Joshi in conversation with Sanjoy Roy threw up some great points of discussion including a debate on item songs and whether Krishna was the first eve teaser.
Prasoon Joshi who came out a flaming feminist in the session, called Lord Krishna the “biggest eveteaser” of the gopis, dismissing a rejoinder from Sanjoy Roy who said “they look like they’re enjoying it in the paintings”.
“You are also victim of it. That’s why we’re infected by this mindset.”
“Are the gopis enjoying or suffering? Who decides. The person who painted it and in a male-dominated society”, Prasoon said, half-seriously. He made the statement in the context of the typical Hindi movie theme where the hero harasses the heroine who then falls into his arms.
Azmi talked about the difficulty of choosing roles in Bollywood.
“I made uninformed choices. In wake of the gangrape every section of society has to reflect on themselve and the patriarchical mindset. You cannot have moral police say this is whaat hindi films are doing to our girls. We are getting into a george busg type discourse either you’re with us or against us. Says many young women are acting assertively without thinking about what they are doing.
Sanjoy Roy turned to the discussion of item songs, asking Prasoon about the Fevicol song.
Prasoon says he has no problem with Fevicol Se because it makes you laugh. “The problem is we as a society cannot draw a line.
Shabana Azmi joining in, made a plea to Bollywood heroines to make informed choices. “Many say no I don’t feel we are commodified, we are deified, but What do you feel when you see a child dancing to “Main toh tandoori murgi hoon yaar. Gatkaale sayiaan yaar alcohol se? Just because Salman Khan takes his shirt doesn’t make it ok for you to do it”, she said.
“These are not folk culture. Folk is not by or for people. Munni badnaam hui is not folk music. And even if it is folk music and portraying women in a wrong way, we should throw it out”, she added.
Prasoon Joshi added that it was time Bollywood accepted that it was not just mirroring society, we are shaping it.