‘This is America’ is a song that shook us all. I can’t help but wonder how far-fetched the idea of a ‘This is India’ is.
India needs a “This is America”.
Before you run into a conclusion about this article, I’m referring to Childish Gambino’s hit single “This is America”.
India needs a “This is America”. For that to happen, we need an audience that isn’t living in denial (about achche din), and a music industry that graduates from poor VFX, women wearing tacky bikinis, who seem to be obsessed with bathing, and men driving fast and colourful cars.
We need artists who reflect reality. Aren’t we just a little tired of music videos with fairy lights and sky porn?
“This is America” is a song that shook us all. I can’t help but wonder how far-fetched the idea of a “This is India” is.
Each second in the four-minute video symbolises the struggle, pain and oppression that the Black culture is undergoing in the wake of an emerging White supremacist era. Although Black culture has always been outspoken about the injustice it has faced through the generations, this song was Bang On. Gambino made sure to touch upon how within the Black entertainment circles, many still remain complicit and silent.
A “This is India” video would replace mass shootings with rapes, hate crimes and cow-vigilante lynchings. The little boy who runs up to Gambino after every shooting to keep the gun safe would, instead, be someone we look up to in India who helps cover up the dirt of the powerful.
Replacing the background dancers would be our online trolls who now have taken their bigotry to the streets. Religious fanatics would parade the streets while jamming to songs that glorify communal hatred.
Critics will mysteriously disappear into thin air. Meanwhile, the dancing continues.
The idea of the possibility of such a video in India maybe exciting. But when I think of the actual implementation of such a video, I begin to despair instantly. Why? Because, speaking out the truth frightens us. We may just lose our powerful friends.
Our mainstream entertainment industry is least likely to take on such a project. We can pretty much leave out Bollywood, since our film stars prefer standing with criminals instead of calling them out, and they hide behind the slogan of equality, because feminism threatens them.
In fact, it is in trend to do the exact opposite of the obvious: Big B happens to be the ambassador for ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ and still refuses to talk about rapes in Unnao, Kathua and Surat. Akshay Kumar would rather take the trouble to delete his six-year-old tweets about fuel price rise than speak the truth about what is hurting the common man.
Sonam Kapoor chooses to post photos with Salman Khan (right after the conviction in the blackbuck shooting case). Because, poor Sallu needs to be told that he can get away with anything, every single time.
After all, when Prakash Raj, one of the most outspoken members of the film fraternity, spoke up, he lost out on opportunities in Bollywood.
So, who could star in “This is India” you may ask.