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Criticising the culture of item numbers in Hindi films, veteran actor Shabana Azmi has said item numbers lead to sexualization of children. Citing the lyrics of Salman Khan-starrer Dabangg 2, where Kareena Kapoor Khan danced on Fevicol Se, Azmi said mouthing those lines is a cause of concern.
"Please be informed, when you say 'main tandoori murgi hu, gatka lo mujhe alcohol kay saath' and a four-year-old girl is dancing on it, you are leading to the sexualisation of children and the parents who are enjoying it, people who are encouraging her are just as responsible."
In a panel discussion at the ongoing FICCI Frames, Azmi said item numbers involve a woman surrendering to the male gaze.
"I have strong views on item numbers because they are not part of the narrative and they've been put in a film for the only purpose of titillation and nothing else. When a girl or a leading lady says 'it's alright, I want to celebrate my sensuality' I have no problem with that. I think that's wonderful. But under the pretence of 'celebrating your sensuality' what you are actually doing is surrendering to the male gaze and objectifying yourselves because the business of cinema is of images," the actor added.
Azmi said it is problematic when people are shown a woman's "fragmented bits of her body, heaving bosom, swinging navel, shaking hip", as it robs her whole autonomy. Also present at the discussion were Vani Tripathi Tikoo, CBFC member, Gayatri Yadav, president and head, Consumer Strategy & Innovation, Star India, Apurva Purohit, president, Jagran Prakashan Ltd and Tavleen Singh, political columnist and author.