Chumma, Jumma and Consent: Rewriting Sexist Bollywood Songs
“Tera peecha karoon toh rokne ka nahin”
You’re walking to the Metro station, frantically looking for money to pay the rickshaw-wallah, when a fragment of a song wafts towards you. Looking up, you’re met with a crooked leer.
Jumma chumma de de!”
You’re in a crowded bus, surrounded by a mess of bodies. Pushing through the crowd to get to your bus stop, a man ‘accidentally’ brushes past you, leaning in with a song on his lips. Amitabh Bachchan films will never be the same again.
Hindi film songs in India are wildly popular. However, most of their lyrics (across decades) promote sexism, misogyny and a blatant disregard for consent. Recognising that sexist songs are often used in street harassment, Akshara Centre, an NGO in Mumbai has decided to change the rules of the game. This time, they’re rewriting lyrics of popular Bollywood songs.
Don’t Like That Gaana? Rewrite it!
Akshara has launched a national competition encouraging people to rewrite sexist Bollywood songs which might be demeaning to women, reinforce unequal gender stereotypes and objectify women. Talking to The Quint, project co-ordinator of the ‘Gaana Rewrite’ campaign says:
We’ve been interacting, conducting workshops on various concepts like gender, power, relationship and issues like sexual harassment in public places. Girls and boys told us that sexist songs from Bollywood are often used to tease and stalk women. Girls have expressed that they feel objectified and insulted because of such sexist songs. By introducing this campaign, we want to bring a change in individual mindsets by encouraging critical analysis of songs and its suggestive sexual objectification towards women.Snehal Velkar, Program Co-ordinator, Akshara Centre
But to what extent do Hindi film songs affect everyday conceptions of masculinity, gender and consent?
A large extent, Suyash Jadhav, a Mumbai-based teenager explains. He re-examines his love for “Tu cheez badi hai mast mast” – a 90s Bollywood favourite.
At The Quint, we decided to try our hand at rewriting some of our favourite Bollywood songs. So, join the conversation, dig deep into your playlists and start (re)writing! You can email your rewritten songs to firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment below.
1. Jadoo Teri Nazar, Darr (1990)
Jadoo teri Nazar, khushboo tera badan
Tu haan kar, ya naa kar
Tu hai meri kiran!
2. Tu Mere Agal Bagal Hai, Phata Poster Nikla Hero (2013)
Tu mere agal bagal hai
Tera peechha karoon toh tokne ka nahin
Hai tujhpe right mera
Tu hai delight mera
Tera rasta jo rokoon
Chaunkne ka nahin
3. Jumma Chumma De De, Hum (1991)
Jumma chumma de de
Jumme ke din kiya jumme ka vaada
Jumme ko tod diya jumme ka vaada
Le aa gaya re phir Jumma
Jumma chumma de de
4. Apun Bola Tu Meri Laila, Josh (1990)
Apun bola tu meri laila
Woh boli fekta hai saala
Apun jab bhi sacchi bolta
Ay usko jhoot kai ko lagta hai?
Yeh uska style hoinga
Hoton pe naa dil mein haan hoinga!
5. Bhala Hai Bura Hai, Jaisa Bhi Hai, Naseeb Apna Apna (1986)
Bhala hai bura hai jaisa bhi hain
Mera pati mera devata hain
Mere devata ko kuchh na kaho
Mera devata to mera devata hain