It came to me yesterday that there is some unique characteristic of a country where most commercial films are known for their love songs. Well, the country here is India. Indians are used to love songs right from their childhood. It is the melodious music and outlandish exotic lyrics that sway them and while songs in films are considered digressing from the movie narrative by the educated modern Indians, still they are happy to hear a love song or two. The lyrics of these songs comprise of metaphors comparing the lover to moon, flower, nature and so on…the list just goes on, we can just generalize the compared entities as something which is beautiful to the senses.
Ok, what is the unique characteristic that differentiates India from other countries? Lets do the comparison with western countries where hollywood movies are played and its a fact that English movies don’t have songs even though some movies release a separate soundtrack which mostly comprise of BGMs. Occasionally, movies called as musicals are released and by their name, they alert the movie-goers that the movie will have lot of songs and music will be the central theme. Coming back to the unique characteristic, it is the prevailing CULTURE of the country. We can call it the hindu culture or more correctly, the indian culture so that folks from other religions don’t feel anxious 😉 Well, its easy to say that culture is the reason and close this topic but lets look further. If you are comparing cultures, the main variable that yields the most telling differences is WOMEN. Cultures can be compared by the role women play in different macro aspects such as family and society and most importantly, the freedom they enjoy in the country. In India, we continue to have a male dominated society with the role of women underplayed and unrecognized in quite a few areas. Some detractors will jump and challenge me, but if you the ask the women in India, most will agree with the traditional women giving a meek affirmation and new-gen women giving their thumbs-up in a big way!
From a traditional viewpoint, women were always supposed to be viewed as the goddess and care-giver who deserves respect to the fullest degree. This is very much agreeable but the scriptures and epics indirectly indicate one rule, women have to remain chaste to deserve this unrestrained respect. By chaste, I leave it to the reader to understand its meaning in the pre-marriage and post-marriage context 🙂 So, now we come to the most interesting part. In this viewpoint, women have to make sure they keep the(ir) men in control. To put it in simple worlds, men can see, hear, talk but never touch! This is in contrast to the western ways where men see, hear, talk, touch and do much more than that to completely feel satisfied to their fullest extent 😉 even though, how much ever you have, you never feel satisfied and its a fact. You can disagree with me but nature has its way 🙂 Women in these countries don’t feel bad about this, in fact the whole society is very much aware and it is seen as a norm. In a way, guys get what they want in the shortest period of time ( in most cases). I won’t say that there is not much romance involved but its role is slightly different, men have to be romantic and show they are rich, sophisticated and worthy, all in one shot. In theory, this might look tough but I know that there are man tips available in the internet that might be useful 🙂 All this happens in a date and they go places from there , if she feels that he is good enough;) Therefore, as per Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, all of man’s physiological needs are satisfied with this final act. Some people call it love, some may see it as lust, whatever it is, the main event is the same!
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Back to India, I have mentioned earlier that women have a certain code of conduct to maintain. This means that men can love and just keep loving atleast until the marriage if they feel they can maintain the level until that time! There are many theories on how love arises. But in my understanding, the alluring quality of beauty is the source of love along with the growing insecurity of man when we loses his friends as he gets older. It starts with the appearance of a beautiful woman who satisfies man’s requirement (people have different tastes with respect to skin color, body shapes, personality and so on….). Sparks fly, man gets engrossed, he tries to get close and talk to her, to check if his primal hunch is correct. The rest of the story can be summed up in three words fascination, fascination and more fascination. This condition is where a man becomes a poet, this is where philosophical thoughts, physiological needs and a self-induced psychological gap meet! What is the product of this fusion? Feelings of unrequited love expressed in the form of metaphors comparing love to something ethereal and the lady-love to some meta-being who lives everywhere, in his conscious state and in his dreams. In my opinion, this is the only state where man finds that he is really connected to NATURE. He loves its beauty in all its forms. The mental diarrhea continues until the woman satisfies his need of love. Indian woman can’t satisfy man’s needs until marriage but they do entertain them momentarily with those fleeting glances and touches, thereby keeping his hope alive. I always felt that woman have great control of passion and my intuition is proved right by this article. Woman can be more passionate and at the same time, control passion at 8 times more than that of man. Talk about some control! No wonder, they look so composed when in love, in contrast to man who is drooling and unrestrained 😉 Love need not look cheap by my views so far because we have only looked at the primal love between a man and a woman. But, love is far more subtle. I consider Love to be the gross form of consciousness. It operates at all levels and dimensions of human life. There can be no life without love. TO LIVE IS TO LOVE. If love diminishes one day, humanity would have reached its end, that is the power and reach of love. Coming to our topic, unrequited love is something that can be very liberating and at the same time, very arresting. Emotions and sentiments run amok in the human mind. Arts is a field that rises from human emotions. Think of the painters, singers, actors and poets, all these roles require deep emotions to express a mental state or a reality or an experience in the form of metaphorical representations. Call it excess activity in the right brain! No wonder, many say that man becomes a poet when he is in love. All this sentence needs is the adjective ‘unrequited’ because if his love is satisfied, there is no need to be a poet. He will want to become a poet once lust/desire strikes again and it does strike too often 😉 This is indeed a unique situation where a primal instinct brings about amazing level of creativity from humans.
The Indian culture and love songs from Indian films go hand in hand. One cannot purely exist without the other. Love songs provide the necessary distraction and comfort for lovers. Song lyric writers have been keep kept busy for more than 5 decades because of this phenomenon. If the Indian culture loses its identity due to globalization and inculturation, the situation might change. This is a scenario where the liberation of women can cause a change in their attitude towards the concept of chastity. Will chastity be maintained in the growing so-called liberation or will its definition and applicability loosened to accommodate the urban lifestyle, is to be seen. But, one will not be surprised if India goes the western way and I am just giving a live commentary of a change which is already there to be seen in the metropolitan cities. The market for love songs will always be there because it has established itself in the hearts of Indians. The sway will be there but the importance will diminish slowly and we may slowly come to see a time where films without love songs could become a norm as the gifted generation of lyricists fail to find worthy replacements and also movie audience could just expect a animalistic exposition of love as seen in English movies.
I hope you found my correlation between culture and love songs to be of some relevance. If you don’t , plz share your opinion. I close this post with this wonderful love song from Barry Manilow 😉