Dr. Lopamudra Priyadarshini

The Ugly Face of Indian Entertainment Industry


As I started driving towards my office, a song being played on the radio got my attention. The lyrics were like, “Aayi chikni chameli, chhup ke akeli, pawwa chadha ke aayi”. Quite a famous and trendy song it was, followed by another, “Munni badnaam hui, Darling tere liye. Le zandu balm hui, Darling tere liye”.


These songs got so famous that you could see every other kid singing the same. Something that we usually ignore every day, made me wonder how the entertainment industry is affecting each and every one of us. While industry is somewhat a mirror of the society, it is necessary of what is being portrayed on the screens as it impacts the masses.

Scope of Indian Entertainment Industry
Personally, I see a trend in movies to include a so-called ‘item number’ to make it viral. There is a common recipe to create such songs, an actress in skimpy clothes, dancing along with a group of men, on some lyrics that clearly objectify women as objects of fun and pleasure. A young child watching such songs gets the idea of objectification and believes such to be a normal act, for it is being shown across and going famous with each passing day. With such trends going on since ages, many get subliminally inspired and treat women in the same manner.

Talking about roles, the common traits of actresses across the films and serials include: helpless, weak, dependent and easily tricked, excluding a few exceptions. There would be an evil and cunning mother in law or sister in law, disturbing the newly married girl and plotting various plans to trouble her life. This is how entertainment houses portray women as the worst enemy of their own gender.

Many of the films would revolve around a plain love story, where the sole purpose of the hero is to get the girl of his dreams, by hook or by crook. Dialogues like, “Larki ki na me bhi haan hai” (there is acceptance in the denial of the girl), have resulted in a number of sexual abuse cases. Why does it happen? Because the hero would continue chasing the girl until she accepts his proposal. The idea of consent is quite alien, if we look across a number of films.

Why Indian Entertainment industry Follows Such Plots?
There are 3 aspects that I understand as to why the industry uses such plots:


  1. As mentioned earlier, films and serials portray the reality of the society to an extent, and the events are inspired from real-life examples.
  2. The audience demand such ‘masala’ in the films they watch. If there are no item numbers or designated love stories and the film is off the mainstream cinema theme, it rarely sees the dawn of success.
  3. The third reason is related to the second, the mainstream theme of cinema with these ingredients is a general failproof way of minting money on the box office, Kabir Singh being the most recent example.

As per the human psychology, we tend to inculcate traits involuntarily on prolonged exposure. What the Indian Entertainment Industry has done and continuing to do through its number of films and serials is to create a belief where women are weak, dependent on men and merely sex objects. On the other hand, it has also assisted in setting an image for marriages, where the groom’s mother and sister would be harsh and troublesome. These can be easily witnessed in the films since early 80’s, where women have been dealing with goons trying to rape them, in-laws troubling their life and so on.

Can Entertainment Industry Change the Thinking?
Entertainment Industry is a major thought driving force, where it holds the power to alter sentiments through its audiovisual means. When used diligently, it can create wonders on the front of gender equality. It can further help in creating sensitive audience that understand the intricacies of our gender diverse society, to love, respect and live in harmony with each other. For what we see on a regular basis, is what we start believing in, and this is where the entertainment industry can leverage their power to direct the sentiments of audience towards various issues and stigmas of the society.

What Needs to be Done?
By now, you would be thinking of films like Pink, Dangal, which were rather women-oriented, and portraying the power the female gender has. Indeed, these are the exceptions, but you may count such films on your fingers, as the number of films based on women empowerment or gender equality is certainly very few.

If the current theme of films will continue, it will bring no benefit, but surely will harm the fabric of our society, where many will see women as powerless and object of pleasure, as they present on the screen. This needs to be controlled, and more meaningful stories shall be introduced in order to curb misleading thoughts and crimes in the society. Films shall be made in a manner where the audience takes a positive message back home.

And until that time, we require to moderate our younger ones so that they are not exposed to the lies of the silver screen. Further, we need to make them understand the concept of fiction so that they can differentiate between wrong and right, and respect genders equally. This will enable us in creating a society that respects the diversity of genders.

We require to train our boys from early childhood to respect the genders and they shall evaluate their thoughts before turning them into actions. Similarly, we must train our daughters to be a part of the inclusive society and stand for their rights.

This would be possible with initiating the change in ourselves. With having negative thoughts about the society, we cannot teach our younger ones to respect. We need to unlearn a number of things ourselves that we have acquired from the entertainment industry, in order to bring peace and justice to the society. Indeed, the change begins with us.



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