(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)
The gang rape and death of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi last month has made many Indians take a hard look at how they behave as a society.
What is the Bollywood film industry’s role in creating or perpetuating that behaviour, particularly the callous treatment of women at the hands of men? Some argue that the film industry’s portrayal of women is derogatory, particularly in “item numbers” — songs with sexual overtones in movies, often inserted with no relevance to the plot.
But asking for a ban on item numbers and demanding that Bollywood tone it down are unreasonable. Doing so will not just take away creative freedom, it also fails to depict reality.
Many of my colleagues say Bollywood is not a mirror to Indian society and its mindset. The image of drunk men dancing around a scantily clad woman in India is hard to conjure up, let alone politicians doing so. But it does happen.