An Open Letter To Bollywood: Bura Na Mano But You Suck At Non-Sexist Holi Songs

An Open Letter To Bollywood: Bura Na Mano But You Suck At Non-Sexist Holi Songs

Dear Bollywood,

Since I was a little kid, I remember Holi to be my favourite festival. In fact, I think it was the only reason I like summers – that and cold, yum ice creams. However, now that I’ve grown up and am in my mid-20s, I realised that you haven’t taken the pains to grow up – especially when it comes to your Holi songs.

I came to this realisation when I was trying to make a playlist for my Holi party. While going through the songs, I realised that every year we’ve all been listening to the same, ghissa pitta sexist Bollywood Holi songs that honestly, no one asked for. And the cringiest part about all the songs is that it sends the same message – that a man can touch, colour, or do whatever he pleases with a woman and get away with it by saying ‘bura na mano Holi hai’. 

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And the more I pondered on it, I realised that not only the visuals but even the lyrics to these Holi songs are crass and sexist. Just to make you realise how bad it gets, I’ll do you a favor and not play holi but highlight the sexist lyrics. Starting off with one of the popular ones – Silsila’s ‘Rang Barse’. In the song, Amitabh Bachchan literally goes “Are kaine maari pichkaari tori bheegi angiya O rangrasia rangrasia” – throughout the track, the lyrics principally embody all of the things the ‘hero’ desires to do during Holi. 

In fact, even ‘Aaj Na Chhodenge’ from Kati Patang literally highlights how the hero wants to wet her choli’ whether she likes it or not. Firstly, Bollywood, stop using the word ‘choli’ simply because it rhymes with Holi, and secondly, go take a lesson or two on consent before you start writing such lyrics.

One would think that things would be different at the start of the millennium but Bollywood doesn’t like change. I mean, isn’t that the only reason why Uday Chopra’s character sings “Jaa kudiye, jo kar le, gora badan tera rang diya….” to Shamita Shetty’s character in Mohabbatein after he forcefully applies colour on her during the Holi function. And what’s even more miffing to me, is the fact this all happened in front of his college professor (SRK) who condoned it! Like what? As though that wasn’t enough, she literally goes ahead and dances with Uday Chopra after he takes her NO as a YES – because “uski na mein hi haan hai” right?

Also Read: Throwback Thursday: Mohabbatein Is Full Of Egoistic, Dumb And Sexist Men Who Keep Wanting The Women To Change

Bollywood, don’t for one second think that I forgot about your obsession with close-up shots of ‘choli’ while the woman is getting wet and forcefully coloured by the protagonist. I clearly remember in Waqt, Priyanka Chopra, who plays the wife of Akshay Kumar, sings to him “Jaa re jaa, don’t touch my choli. Uff ye holi!” and even after she literally spells it out to him to not touch her inappropriately, the man doesn’t stop. Once again, consent peeps, consent!

But why look back in the future, let’s focus on recent Holi songs that are downright sexist. I present to you Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’s ‘Balam Pichkari’. Now, I’m not going to lie to you, Bollywood, I’ve grooved my heart out to see this song but that in no way means that it passes the bar. I mean, you know about the part in the lyrics where Bunny (played by Ranbir Kapoor) is complaining about there being no vacancy in Naina’s (played by Deepika Padukone) heart and he sings this while taking a peek at her cleavage. Real mature. 

Also Read: What To Watch This Holi Long Weekend: ‘Turning Red’, ‘Jalsa’, ‘Apharan 2’, ‘Salute’, ‘WeCrashed’ And More

Now, these are not the only songs of yours that are sexist – ‘Ang se ang lagana’, ‘Hori khele raghuveera’, ‘Go pagal’, and more. And I can say this with absolute certainty because I actually was on a quest for non-sexist Holi songs and as you, Bollywood, might have guessed, I came up empty-handed. It is then I chose to write you this letter. After all, you’ve been a close friend of mine for years now, and as a friend if I don’t call you out, then who will? I hope I wasn’t too harsh and well, even if I was, take it with a pinch of colour – just the way we women have been taking in all your sexist songs.


The other, equal half of the population.

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