(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters Corp.)
The mother and father of the 23-year-old Delhi gang-rape victim were cremating their daughter’s body around the same time I discovered Honey Singh, now lately known for his notorious song, “Ch**t,” or “Cu*t.” The song revolves around the singer’s vision of satisfying a woman’s lust, followed by beating her with a shoe and then moving on to other things.
While India convulses over its people’s shameful treatment of women, its inadequate rape laws and questions about how to change an entire society, Singh’s star has been rising in Bollywood. The industry apparently likes what it hears.
Whether the trouble he has encountered over his songs will stall that career remains to be seen, but it is safe to say that Bollywood has a record of promoting a dim, if adulatory view of women. But it is time the industry takes responsibility for what it perpetrates under the garb of “entertainment.”
India’s influence over what we see, the tunes we hum and the weaving of the tapestry of our pop culture is huge. Teenagers and adults often dress like the hottest actors and actresses of the season, talk like them and woo each other with songs and dialogue from hit films and almost inevitably have, at some points of their life, imitated their onscreen role models. Bollywood’s bounty is as boundless as the seas, but much of the time, we’re the fish.