What slut-shaming Jacqueline Fernandez for Ek Do Teen and sparing filmmaker reveals

Trolls target a woman for featuring in a remix of Madhuri Dixit’s iconic hit from Tezaab.

 |  5-minute read |   23-03-2018
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Social media has been up in arms over actor Jacqueline Fernandez featuring in an “unimpressive” remix of actor Madhuri Dixit’s iconic number "Ek Do Teen" from Tezaab (1988). Any remix of old Bollywood songs or remakes of films come with unwarranted comparisons. While fans are free to express their displeasure on social media, Tezaab director N Chandra saying that he would take action against the new rendition shows why the industry should become more accommodating and less judgemental about what is, at the end of the day, just another piece of art and a form of expression.

More importantly, it should serve as a lesson for trolls who target the women who star in the remixes, overlooking the fact that filmmakers shoot the songs and choreographers decide the moves in each number.  

Jacqueline faces the brunt

The remix of Ek Do Teen is part of Baaghi 2, which is scheduled to be released on March 30. The song was released on March 18 and since then Jacqueline has been facing a backlash for featuring in its video. Baaghi 2, a sequel to Baaghi (2016), stars Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani, Prateik Babbar, Manoj Bajpayee and Randeep Hooda among others. Jacqueline Fernandez makes a special appearance as Mohini (This was Madhuri’s name in Tezaab).

The movie has been directed by Ahmed Khan who is also a choreographer and has made obvious contribution to the song. Apart from him, there is choreographer Ganesh Acharya, who was part of the making of the original too. While veteran choreographer Saroj Khan is being fondly remembered in context with the original number for which she trained Madhuri, Ahmed Khan and Ganesh Acharya have been conveniently spared the flak for the new number.

Here lies the problem


Those criticising Jacqueline associate "Ek Do Teen" with their childhood. According to them, Madhuri Dixit's spontaneity can’t be found in Jacqueline, who has apparently turned the peppy, melodious number into a raunchy one. Words of praise have come from actors Salman Khan and Anil Kapoor, who have lauded Jacqueline for her efforts. But mostly she is being abused and slutshamed. Not only social media users, but also film critics have seemingly been "disturbed" by the song. 

Thankfully, this has also renewed the debate on how item numbers objectify women. 

While the debate should not single this number out, it must also not overlook the paradigm shift Bollywood has experienced since Madhuri's "Ek Do Teen" floored audiences before the '90s. It happened at a time the concept of introducing an item song featuring a character who has little role in the main plot was a novelty.

Contextualising the song in today’s Bollywood in a more appropriate and acceptable form was the director's responsibility, after all it was he who chose the song to be remade and picked Jacqueline for the role.

Action against the song

According to reports, the Tezaab director said he, along with Saroj Khan — the choreographer of the original — would take action. Speaking to news agency IANS, Mr Chandra said, "I can't believe they've done this to Ek Do Teen. It's crass beyond imagination. And Jacqueline Fernandez doing Madhuri Dixit's number? Give me a break! It's like turning the Central Park into a botanical garden."

Technically, they can’t take any action as thousands of Bollywood movies and songs are remixed every year. In this case, Baaghi 2's director had also consulted Saroj Khan, but she was not on board as the filmmaker did not want the new number to be a replica of Madhuri's hit song.

An extension of nepotism

In the recent past, another iconic Madhuri Dixit song "Tamma Tamma", from Thanedaar (1989) was recreated in Badrinath ki Dulhania (2017) starring actors Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt.

Ok Jaanu (2007) recreated the "Humma" song from Mani Ratnam’s Bombay (1995), featuring Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur. While those remixes too did upset a number of fans, the industry was not scathing in its attack.

It's high time Bollywood stopped putting remixes through an acid test.

Also read: Sex workers are not objects. 10 films show cinema on prostitution must change


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