The Delhi gangrape has already seen a multiplicity of effects. A government-appointed committee has presented a report in record time. The government has moved an ordinance just two weeks ahead of a Parliament session. There is a gag order on the media reporting the court case. The I&B ministry has issued an advisory to TV stations. Etcetera.
Now, there is another unintended victim: item songs.
The central board of film certification has reportedly decreed that “item songs” will in future be graded as “A” (adult) content, which means they can no longer be shown on TV whose content otherwise is supposed to be U/A (universal/adult).
“Item songs are essentially adult content. We ourselves do not define what an item song is, but what we mean is that all those songs which are meant for adult consumption, either because of their lyrics or because of visuals, should be given adult certification,” Pankaja Thakur of CBFC is quoted as saying.
There is, of course, no direct correlation between the Delhi gangrape and item songs, but there is much to be read into the timing of the CBFC move, which otherwise was turning the blind eye for so long. The underlying belief seems to be that item songs, most of which showcase severely underdressed women in orgiastic settings, fashion the minds of youngsters and could have a deleterious effect in the long run.
Question: should item songs be shown on TV or not? Should they be shown at a specific hour, like advertisements for condoms? Or are we reading too much into its impact on young minds?