Saturday, August 28, 2004

Sexed-up music videos
Vishal Sharma on how explicit remixes impact the lifestyle of the young

They offer a heady cocktail of doctored music, funky western tunes and dollops of flesh. They may be a rage with the fun-loving and tuned-in Gen-Xers, but these music videos whip up not-too-melodic reactions from those who consider this ‘crazy musical onslaught’ a threat to everything called Indian.

"The sustained exposure to such uninhibited junk bodes ill for the overall health of the society. The rise in teenage pregnancies and reckless sexual behaviour are offshoots of the hedonistic lifestyles depicted on various television channels," says Chandigarh-based Dr Vaibhav Bhola.

"Reduced respect for each other, treating women merely as objects of sexual gratification and a dangerously liberal sexual lifestyle are often the results of constantly viewing pornographic material," he adds. And, this doctor has no compunctions about placing such music videos in the semi or soft-porn category.

Echoing his views, a latest study done by Dr Claudio Violato of the University of Calgary, Canada, has found that constant exposure to porn and sexually explicit material leads to serious deviations in attitude towards intimate relationships. It leads to perverse perceptions of gender roles and viewing persons as sexual objects.

"I have been inundated with complaints of students losing interest in studies, kids turning sexually active at a very tender age and trauma arising out of teenage pregnancies. I attribute all this to the degenerative impact that the media is making on young impressionable minds," says Sachin Sharma, a psychologist.

In fact, the impact of the music videos on youngsters is too palpable to be ignored.

Most youngsters feel it is perfectly normal to seek multiple partners, booze and try out the ‘exciting things’ of life shown on the television.

This unabashed lapping up of Mcculture without bothering about its consequences is creating a storm in the young generation, he adds.

"In adults, exposure to such sexually-titillating material for long not only disturbs the family ties but also leads to gross disinterest in sex at a later stage. Women undergo serious change in their thought pattern and may get a complex of sorts about their sexuality," he says.

A survey done in New Delhi found that at least 35 per cent of the students of secondary classes have indulged in sexual acts, drinking, drugs and other ‘perverse’ activities. They said they had unrestricted exposure to pornography on the TV as well as the Internet.

The remixes have arraigned a battery of pseudo musicians and singers who have no hassles in sacrificing creativity and who revel in unabashed plagiarism. The remix industry is sucking the blood of the Hindi film music industry, which has suffered losses to the tune of Rs 3000 crore in the past five years.

The lifeline of the remix industry is, curiously, embedded in a provision (Section 52 1 j) of the Copyright Act. The provision allows the labels to identify a composition which is more than two years old and do anything to it after informing the parent recording company which has no say in the matter.

The Censor Board of Film Certification chief, Anupam Kher, has said a number of times strict action ought to be taken to check the menace though there is nothing much he can do till the particular provision of the Copyright Act is done away with. The provision can only be deleted or amended by Parliament.

It is time society took up cudgels against the menace before the soul-stirring music of yesteryear is completely lost.