Javed Akhtar: Crime rate in UP and Bihar high since fewer people watch films there
According to sources, Javed Akhtar, the noted film writer, lyricist, parliamentarian, and social activist, was reacting to an audio-visual presentation during a conference and a confidence building 'interface' between the Mumbai Police and Bollywood big guns on the invitation of the Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh. It was held in the swanky and imposing conference hall of the newly commissioned RTI office at Andheri West, Mumbai.
The audio-visual presentation particularly focused on Bollywood item numbers; the lurid lyrics of songs, and the way item girls were depicted in them. It included video clips and newspaper reports highlighting how these item numbers objectified women and in what ways it might lead to criminal behavior. Javed Akhtar's better half Shabana Aazmi was shown expressing her sense of deep disgust over them in one of the TV clips. The presentation and the speeches of the senior cops indirectly suggested that Bollywood films played a role in the rise of crime against women and the other kinds of wayward criminal behavior.
Javed Akhtar strongly refuted the suggestion and said that vulgar songs and dances had always been part of Indian culture and films and the present rise in crime against women could not be attributed to them. There is something wrong with our society that demands and patronizes vulgar songs according to him. He also gave figures of the number of cinema halls in the country and how the rate of crime against women is higher in those regions that have fewer cinema halls. He was referring to the northern belt, obviously UP and Bihar.
Javed Akhtar did not halt at that. He challenged the Mumbai Police to stop the screenings of films in Mumbai for fifteen days and see how the crime rate shoots up. Interestingly, his son Farhan Akhtar, the well-known film producer, actor, and director, did not seem to agree with him. He felt that the romance in films does leave an impression on young minds since this is the only point of reference they have in life for it. And it's possible that certain kind of depiction of romance in a film can lead to a rise in eve-teasing cases and its serious consequent repercussion in the form of dangerous and criminal behavior.
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