Upbeat, sexy, and so much masti!: Bollywood music and female sexuality

  1. Lag Ja Gale

Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Movie: Woh Kaun Thi (1964)
Music Director: Madan Mohan

Purpose: To show how Bollywood represents the voice of a pure, traditional heroine, and the prominence of Lata Mangeshkar’s voice in those kinds of heroines.

  1. Piya Tu Ab To Aaja
    Singer: Asha Bhosle

Movie: Caravan (1971)

Music Director: R.D. Burman

Purpose: To contrast Lata’s voice to the voice of Asha Bhosle and her role in songs that are sexy and sultry as opposed to pure.

  1. Aaj Hum Apni
    Singer
    : Lata Mangeshkar
    Movie: Pakeezah (1972)
    Music Director: Naushad Ali

Purpose: To show the complexity of representation of courtesans, and sexuality in general, in Bollywood films.

  1. Choli Ke Peeche
    Singers
    : Ila Arun, Alka Yagnik
    Movie: Kalnayak (1993)

Music Director: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Purpose: To show differences in lyrics of songs for heroines versus an item song, and the vulgarity and controversy the latter often include.

  1. Sheila Ki Jawani
    Singers: Sunidhi Chauhan
    Movie: Tees Maar Khan (2010)
    Music Director: Vishal-Shekhar

Purpose: To show how contemporary voices represent female sexuality, and what critics thinks the impact of it on society is.

 

  1. Mere Haath Mein
    Singers:
    Sunidhi Chauhan, Sonu Nigam

Movie: Fanaa (2006)

Music Director: Jatin – Lalit

Purpose: To show that in contemporary times, while we see traditional associations of voice and feminine sexuality, there is cross-over now which complicates the conceptions of traditional associations.

One Comment

  • Masoom Chainani

    This was a great podcast! I really like how you explore more than just the voice; you looked at the instruments, the character’s on screen, the lyrics, even the singer’s background to develop this identity around the voice. Especially when you talk about Lata’s voice and Asha’s voice.

    I also love you comparison between Asha and Lata. They are sisters and they both had classical training. In some sense, at the core they are related and are similar. However, they followed different paths. They are each like each side of a coil, especially if that coin in equivalent to female sexuality.

    Also, I really like how you explored how female sexuality is displayed in all it’s complexity on screen. You bring up Lag Ja gale, pure in almost every sense, and then Aaj Hum Apni, a pure-ish character in impure circumstances.

    Also, it’s nice this podcast goes roughly in order chronologically. It follows how society and people’s opinions have changed/ become more nuanced over time. But this chronological focus also helps us understand how certain aspects in Bollywood hasn’t changed, like a lower voice is still for Item songs and sultry characters as well as dancing for the male gaze.

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