Social critique in song

Updated: 16 March, 2020 10:32 IST | Prachi Sibal | Mumbai

In a musical video that uses lavani and humour, Paromita Vohra talks about the biases women face when they enter a police station

A still from Aika To The Baika
A still from Aika To The Baika

Bilkul Pandey, a police officer chants slogans of "listen to the women" and "jai nari shakti" without putting much thought into what it entails. There's Kunti G, another officer, with sections from the Indian Penal Code on her fingertips, but quick in retracting her suggestions when Pandey urges so. Pop culture imagery dominates the police station, Bappi Lahiri is wanted for chain snatching and prisoners double up as musicians. Aika To The Baika (listen to the women) from Agents of Ishq, a multimedia project about sex, love and desire, directed by filmmaker Paromita Vohra tells the story of what happens when women decide to enter a police station to file a complaint.

Domestic violence and sexual harassment complaints are easily dismissed and not registered as FIRs. The complainants here aren't bruised women but lavani dancers. The conversation takes place in song and uses humour without being preachy. Women play men, and it compels you to "look at gender conceptually" and move beyond the "literal depiction of the gender biases," Vohra believes.

Paromita Vohra
Paromita Vohra

"As for the humour, it allows you to say simple things in an inclusive manner. It's also a great way to create equality between those on screen and those watching as they share a laugh together," she shares. Vohra adds that the use of lavani also makes you look at the artiste like a symbolic figure without situating them in a certain caste and
class construct.

Produced in collaboration with Majlis, a women's NGO, the film, Vohra tells us, will be used for police training in the future.

Furthermore, Vohra, like with her other films, insists on "films about women moving away from the Khadi Bhandar attitude that makes them plain and inadequate." She says, "It's like when you invite someone home for a meal, you don't just want to serve them a healthy meal but something well-presented too."

Log on to Agents of Ishq on YouTube

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First Published: 16 March, 2020 05:26 IST

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