Dear Bollywood, Enough With the Item Girls. Where Are the Item Boys?

Bollywood

Dear Bollywood, Enough With the Item Girls. Where Are the Item Boys?

Illustration: Akshita Monga

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ast year, Bollywood was a great place to be a woman. Meghna Gulzar, Reema Kagti, and Nandita Das helmed three of the year’s most successful films and Alia Bhatt, Taapsee Pannu, Rani Mukherjee, Kareena Kapoor, and Sonam Kapoor shouldered four of the year’s biggest hits. And yet outdoing them, were the number of women who cavorted around in Bollywood’s favourite pick-me-up, the item song.

In 2018, Hindi cinema roughly served up 12 item songs that were only designed to offer male audiences something to salivate over. These songs bravely went where few have dared to by objectifying every part of a woman’s body: In Stree, we focused on Nora Fatehi’s “Kamariya”; in “Ek Do Teen”, men just yanked off Jacqueline Fernandez’ clothes; in “Dilbar Dilbar”, and “Chhote Chhote Peg”, Nora Fatehi and Nushrat Bharucha dunked themselves in sand and water respectively to sexualise themselves even further. It was really the best of both worlds.

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