Filmmaker Karan Johar — who is a vocal proponent of women empowerment — recently ,spoke about the objectification of a woman’s body through item songs in Bollywood. While talking to Anupama Chopra during an interview Karan pledged to never have another item song in the Dharma movies.
“I have gone on record and apologized that I have had item songs in my feature films and I don’t think I would do it again in a Dharma Productions film. I have no problem with a girl dancing; that’s not an item number. An item song is when she is objectified and when there are men lusting for her like Chikni Chameli,” he said.
“For me Desi Girl is not an item song but Chikni Chameli is. We don’t even think what these words are. I’ve no problem with brilliantly written songs; look at how Gulzar saab wrote the songs of Omkara. They are stunning. Zabaan pe lagaa, lagaa re namak ishq ka is beautiful. It’s the way you picturise a song that matters. You’ve got to kind of make sure that you don’t because eventually we are a very impressionable medium,” Karan added.
A still from Katrina Kaif’s song Chikni Chameli in Agneepath
However, Katrina Kaif – who has many items songs (including Chikni Chameli) to her credit – doesn’t feel the same way. “I feel very differently on the matter. I feel it’s all down to the individual who is performing the song. I don’t think Madonna feels objectified. I don’t think Beyoncé who performs in a swimsuit on stage is feeling objectified. It’s all about how you feel while you are performing that song,” she said during and interview with DNA India.
Katrina also said that she never felt objectified while filming any of her dance numbers. “I can tell you, I never felt objectified in Chikni Chameli. I enjoyed that song and the dance. I didn’t even for a moment felt objectified or drew in any kind of wrong eyes on me. There are many times when people ask me for songs which have no context. I won’t do it irrespective of how much I like the dance. We don’t need to characterize it that every song where a woman is celebrating herself and performing, that’s objectifying women. It all depends on the angle and lens it’s being seen,” she added.