Priyanka Mehta, February 21, 2013
A popular Bollywood director has apparently taken up the daring job of working on a commercial “masala” movie that will surprisingly not have (wait for it) even a single item song.
He confirmed this yesterday: “Though this film’s purpose will be to entertain, it will have a coherent and intelligible plotline, and will employ no item songs. We are being really careful about how to build up the action, because now the viewer has learned to gauge and predict exactly when an item song will make an appearance. We must not lead them on, but at the same time maintain their interest.”
This move was inspired by the idea that item songs may actually be demeaning towards women, the director’s friends said. Without an item song, the movie will require a detailed and logical script – something that remains unexplored.
“It will be difficult,” the filmmaker said. “We will have to actually frame and detail a plot. Our audiences are not really used to this kind of thought-provoking progression in films. Logical twists and turns might befuddle them. So we have to be really careful about how we go about it.”
Some moviegoers we talked to – unlike what one would expect – are happy about this decision. A 20-year-old engineering student was more concerned for the filmmaker himself: “We’re at a stage in moviemaking where even serious genres like crime utilise item songs. How will this movie be able to survive if it markets itself as entertainment but then shows no item songs?” It was just a coincidence that this engineering student was male.
Will the film survive without an item song? Single-screen theatres are apprehensive. One theatre owner said: “Movies must have something tasteful for viewers to work at the box office. We are doing very well nowadays since most movies either have inane action or – the other side of the spectrum – item songs. Let’s hope that this movie has senseless action scenes or at least some slapstick comedic lines.”
Some renowned film critics are wondering if the filmmaker will now think of another method to put in what they call “soft porn”. “Item songs are increasingly becoming a medium for soft porn, encouraging viewers to become voyeurs,” a leading reviewer said. “This is what rakes in so many eyeballs. With the absence of such songs, we can’t help thinking whether they’ve developed some other method to relay the same…stuff.”