Saturday 5 February 2022

From catcalling to male gaze, how 'Oo Antava' song's lyrics denounces sexism

Allu Arjun, Rashmika Mandanna starrer Pushpa: The Rise became a superhit with a box office collection of over 300 crore. Samantha Ruth Prabhu won the hearts of many with her dance performance in 'Oo Antava' that got worldwide attention. However, many failed to notice how the lyrics of the "item number" unapologetically denounced sexism.

Choregraphed by Ganesh Acharya, the song features Allu Arjun and Samantha Prabhu in a raunchy and extremely provocative avatar, which many found highly inappropriate as it reinforces the much talked about objectification of the women as opposed to the lyrics, which in a unique way, turn the focus on men suggesting that it is them who continue to sexualize women irrespective of her age, clothes and how she looks.  

People behind the Oo Antava song's lyrics

The song was released in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi with lyricists Chandrabose, Viveka, Siju Thuravoor and Raqueeb Alam writing for the respective languages. Let us take a look at the lyrics and how they call out men for their behaviour.

Decoding the Oo Antava song lyrics

The song begins with the para "Saree saree pehan ke saree, Aaye to usko ghoore, Chhote chhote skirt bhi jo, Pehan ke aaye to ghoore" focusing on how, irrespective of what a woman wears, men tend to stare at her and make her feel uncomfortable.

Addressing colourism

"Gore gore pe mukhde pe, Taiyar koyi marne ko, sawali ko chhede". This line highlights the obsession with white girls and constant bullying and teasing of girls that are dusky. It then goes on to state that colour makes no difference as everyone is a human being.

Women's physical appearance

From men rejecting women on the bases of their height to mocking them for not being beautiful, the lyrics highlight double standars in men and how they eventually tend to cheat and loot, irrespective of who it is. "Lambi lambi taang wali Chhokri ka deewana"... Phulle phulle gaal pe Koyi bole kya dikhti hai Dubli patli ho to phir Gulab ki daali lagti hai"

Toxic masculinity

The lyrics of the song also target toxic masculinity. For the unversed, toxic masculinity is often a type of cultural norms associated with men and their harmful behaviour towards the society or themselves. The lyrics "Jhoothi jhoothi shaan pe koyi, Apna rohb dikhata hai" highlight the pretentious act of being a man and dominating only because of their gender.

The Lyrics vs The Video

Objectification of women in Indian cinema is not something we have not seen before. From 'Tu cheez badi hai mast mast' to 'Munni Badnaam Hui’, Bollywood has seen a demeaning portrayal of women, that, in the recent years, have been called out my feminists and women activists. While the lyrics of the song 'Oo Antava' calls out men for their lewd behaviour, the video, on the other hand, plays along the typical format of an "item number" with scantily dressed women dancers in the background to men's lecherousness looks.

(Source: India Times)

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