Mumbai college students to rewrite sexist Bollywood item numbers to bring out a change

Updated: Dec 30, 2016, 13:58 IST | Aparna Shukla |

College students are thronging to participate in a competition to rewrite lyrics of sexist Bollywood item numbers and instead make revolutionary songs out of them

Ashika Bhargav and Ayush Jhadav are rewriting ‘Gandi baat'
Ashika Bhargav and Ayush Jhadav are rewriting ‘Gandi baat'

Fed up by the sexism in Bollywood item numbers, college students are set to rewrite history, one song at a time. The Akshara Foundation has started the ‘Pen Uthao Gaana Ghumao’ campaign to change the lyrics of these songs to positive slogans.

The campaign that started from December 10 has already covered around 120 colleges, including St Xaviers, Sophia, HR and Bhavans. “On February 14, we are going to have an event where the rewritten songs would be performed by celebrities or a band. We are hoping to advocate and voice this issue on a large scale, so the sexism stops for real,” said Nandita Shah, co-founder of the Akshara Foundation. The last date for submission of the songs is January 15, 2017.

Why is Munni badnam?
Explaining the concept, program coordinator Snehal Velkar said, “Instead of ‘Ab karunga tere saath gandi baat,’ we rewrite saying ‘Ab nahi chalegi gandi baat, teri gandi, gandi gandi baat’. Ashika Bhargav, from Mumbai University gave another example, “With the song Munni Badnaam Hui, I would replace ‘Munni badnaam hui darling tere liye’ with ‘Munni badnaam hui, societal pressure se.”

Can’t ignore anymore
The campaign is presently trending with the tag #BollywoodCanChange. Sara Tandel, from the Nirmala Niketan College said, “For girls, this is nothing new but I don’t wish to ignore this anymore. I have been a victim of harassment in the name of songs. ‘Tu haan kar ya na kar tu hai meri Kiran.’ No. I’m not your Kiran,” said Sara, who is rewriting the lyrics for the song ‘Blue Eyes’ by Yo Yo Honey Singh.

Suyash Jhadav from SIES college said, “A group of girls were passing by when my friends started singing ‘Gandi Baat’. I felt so disgusted that they didn’t understand how sexist the song is.” Jhadav is rewriting the lyrics to ‘Gandi Baat’.

'Normalising' harassment
“The song culture has made harassment a very ‘normal’ thing. The rape culture feeds on Bollywood’s sexist songs. We need to stop this,” said Snehal Velkar, Program Coordinator at Akshara. Research Scholar at Mumbai University Ashika Bhargav said, “I have been closely studying gender and women’s rights for a long time. It is said that we are the ‘audience’ for such songs. We will prove that we really aren’t. ‘Tera peecha karu toh rokne ka nahi’ is something everyone sings with so much joy, but what it means is something extremely scary.”

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