I have been thinking a great deal about the response and criticism on Anushka Manchanda and Monica Dogra’s New Music Video. Most of my friends like it very much simply because there are very few Indian videos where they have seen Indian women making out. Of course there were a few remarks like “like it except there is too much kissing” and “would have been nicer if there was a bit more fun element” but in essence, the video was enjoyed and celebrated.
However, when I look within the community there has been nothing but blatant and harsh criticism. From calling it a byproduct of popular imagination to serving the male gaze. Some have called it a non-feminist depiction and some a portrayal of lesbian desire by two heterosexual women – the criticism hasn’t stopped.
It is at this point that I wonder if our collective criticism, which furthers the dialogue, human progress and intellectual life is diving straight into cynicism. I find myself contemplating the line between critical thinking and cynical complaint.
Ours has become an age of instant opinions and quick reactions. We feel this urge to reduce, simplify and puncture holes – instead of doing the important hard work of consideration. We don’t stop and empathise with the creators. We don’t acknowledge the current socio-political vaatavaran (climate) but just pull out our sadistic critical guns and start shooting.
Perhaps, we avoid the possibility of consideration because we just want to be sensationalists. Is that because of what the media is teaching us? The headlines in the mainstream media cause enough sensation to destroy such much needed voices and representations. Will we be smart enough to nurture the much-needed want to contemplate over our running commentary on art and culture?
In the current times where the acknowledgement of lesbian desires is complicated by homophobia, intolerance and patriarchy; putting out such a narrative in the mainstream, I believe, comes at a high personal risk.
Shouldn’t we be celebrating such risks? On another thought, which out and proud lesbian women would be comfortable doing such a video, therefore why are we badgering “assumed” heterosexual women for having the guts to do it?
At this point, I want to clarify that I am by no means completely criticizing the criticism of others on this video. I mean reading those posts and articles has totally fuelled my imagination. It has asked for another (more constructive) conversation – inviting others into it – to draw out representations unseen before and open doors that might have been locked.
In the end – I only have one thing to say. The video is hot – and the music is good. It is a work of art. I want to envisage a world where celebration comes first and criticism later. What about you?