Has cinema contributed to the increasing crimes against women?

By Hindustan Times

As outrage over the Delhi rape case builds, people are asking why women are such big targets for crime. Many factors go into creating social mindsets, including popular culture. Since cinema is the most influential popular culture medium in India, we asked Bollywood one question...

“…Then, of course, there’s our entertainment, our television and our films, which often portray the ideal woman just like our mothers, perfect cooks and virginal beauties. And for sexual relief we are served the ‘item’ girl, shown as property bought to entertain and satisfy men’s sexual urges… Where is the woman who goes to work, shares a place with her boyfriend, takes public transport and goes for a drink or a movie on the weekend? In our on screen fictions, the ‘modern’ girl is rich enough to have a chauffeur driven car and the ‘conservative’ girl is so poor and pious that she doesn’t need anything but a man as answers to her prayers…”
-Kalki Koechlin (in a note on Facebook)

“There was a time when romance was pristine between the hero and the heroine. Today, there are many films where it looks
like the hero is stalking the heroine to win her affection. And audiences are cheering for it, thinking that’s the best way to do it. We have thought very seriously about how we can go about changing the portrayal of women (in Bollywood). And I am sure this (change) will happen and we want to play a major role in it.”
-Farhan Akhtar, actor/filmmaker (in an interview with a news channel)

“Bollywood has also glorified women in the highest possible manner through various films and characters like Mother India and Anarkali. Why don’t people take inspiration from those movies and portrayals (of women)? Why is it that only the negative side gets highlighted?”
–Karan Johar, filmmaker

“The ad world uses females to sell everything from water coolers to deodorants. They should be questioned. Women have always been used as objects of desire…”
-Mahesh Bhatt, filmmaker

“If films have contributed to the increasing crimes against women, then by now, everyone should have become a rapist. It all depends on the upbringing of a person. Also, as an industry, we have always been the first ones to hit out at such things personally and through our work.”
-Ekta Kapoor, filmmaker

“We have also shown robbers and gangsters. Does that mean we are inspiring people to be one of them? Cinema is a reflection of society. What is happening is due to lack of proper education and not cinema.”
-Subhash Ghai, filmmaker

“Rape is about power and not as much about sex. But to put the blame on cinema is a tangential way of approaching the age-old problem.”
-Richa Chadha, actor

“Our women are getting stronger and independent. No field has progressed more in respecting women than the Hindi film industry.”
-Apoorva Lakhia, director

“Even if films objectify women on some level, monstrous acts of such kind cannot be the result of just that. Only a sick mind can breach all levels of humanity… The real problem is not how women dress, look or speak in films or otherwise, but the mind of the man who sees them as a piece of flesh. Even in the west, women dress to be desirable in films, but the difference is that the men there are not seeing them as mere sexual objects… If a man can show off his six-pack abs almost every few months to appear more desirable, then why can’t a woman wear a bikini?”
-Anushka Sharma, actor

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