The line between creativity and insensitivity can be really, really thin. But it is common to mistake both as the same. Khesari Lal Yadav, Guddu Rangeela and Pravin Uttam have proved it yet again. These singing sensations of Bihar can sexualize anything. And their latest music track is inspired by Coronavirus. (Nuts? Even I thought so!)
‘Humra lehenga mein corona virus ghusal ba’; ‘Apna lehenga mein NRC laagu hokhey na dem’ sings Guddu Rangeela in his latest track. Guddu is a music sensation having a major fan following in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. He earned himself the moniker ‘Holi Samrat’- for all the wrong reasons- or he is the emperor who has a fetish on his Bhauji’s lehenga.
And when one says these songs are cringe-worthy, believe it. The language and the imageries that they built with the lyrics are extremely vulgar, lewd. The man also has an obsession with rape which features time and again in his music.
But Rangila is not alone in this dirty business. There are similar artistes performing songs in Punjabi, Odiya, and Bhojpuri.
The lyrics have terms like “masks” and “washing hands.” And Coronavirus has replaced the essential villian-oppressive parents or unfaithful lover- who are generally a must-have feature of these kinds of songs. ‘Corona’ is often used in its Hindi pun form, “karo na,” which can be read both ways: “Please do it” or “do not.”
The songs also make use of the footage from the hospitals in Wuhan and digital mocks of the virus’s anatomy. Singers are also seen as comparing themselves to the virus. A virus that has affected 98,000 lives definitely stands for them as a symbol of their machismo. (!)
Another element that stands out throughout these songs is the racist remarks they make. In the song, “Hello Kaun? Coronavirus,” one is presented with a lady who is having a phone conversation with her lover who recently returned from China. She is not happy with the testing from the airport and wants him to be tested again.
And sadly, the song doesn’t end there. She goes ahead trying to track down the activities of her beau and starts accusing him of having bat soup and snake in China. And on and on it goes.
In another Punjabi song as well, there are comments made on the eating habits of the people. The song spreads the belief that the disease is spreading because of the “gandd” (dirt) “these people” eat.
These songs surely are inviting embarrassment to the language and culture that they belong too. And it’s high time that these singers are made aware of the insensitivity in their creativity.