Song And Dance Creating An Atmosphere Of Both Women Sexual Desire

2197 words - 9 pages

Throughout the world when many people think of India the first thing that comes to mind is Bollywood. Bollywood has created a major mark in India and around the world. In 2011 CNBS reported Indian cinema as being $2.2 billion industry which creates 1,200 movies yearly, provides over 1.8 million people with jobs, and has more than 14 million theater viewers daily (Jetley). People who have had little to no expose with Bollywood films may wonder what makes Bollywood films stand out in the global market, and the answer is easily the presence of songs and dances in the films. Song and dance is a creative form of art and has been embedded in Bollywood cinema since the 1930s (Marcoux, and College). Every popular Bollywood film has at least 3 songs and dances sequences , and these sequences allow the characters to freely express their emotions in what is seen to be a “dream sequence” (Marcoux, and College). In Indian films women are represented as the object of men’s desires, and are often seen and not heard. Song and dance in Bollywood cinema allows women to express their sexual desires in a non-disruptive way, specifically I argue that this is attained through women who are rendered as respectable.
Bollywood films portray unequal power relations between the female and male characters. Male are allotted to have sexual desires and are portrayed to be active lookers, while females on the contrary are represented passively and seen as the objects of the male gaze (Mulvey, 11). Spectators watching the film unconsciously identify with the male characters due to the narration of the film and the way the camera caters to the male gaze (Smelik, 494). Women are not shown to have sexual desires throughout the course of the film because of the demand for heteronormativity. In Ann Kaplans book Women & Film Both Sides of The Camera, she argues that women in Bollywood cinema can also be the carrier of the gaze (Kaplan, 30). Song and dance sequences provide women with a diegetic space allowing them to perform their sexual desires and disrupt gender normatives without being portrayed as vamps. This space does not cater to the male gaze, but provides women with the control to express her desires to whomever she pleases. Instead of being the object of male desire, she becomes the “person that looks, seeks, and chooses”. In this paper I will be speaking explicitly of Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, and Rekha. These three women are seen as path breakers in Bollywood cinema because through songs and dance they are able to show that they have thoughts, desires, needs and wants in a way that is not radical and accepted by society, and at the same time they are portrayed as respectable Indian women.
Sridevi is a prime example of a Bollywood actress who is seen as a respectable member in Indian society. She started as a child actress in Telgu movies and since then has appeared in “63 hindi movies; in Telugu; 58 in Tamil; and 21 in Malyalam - in a career that has spanned from...

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