Aunty Number One

Sushma Swaraj, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, has an important question to raise in Parliament in the winter session. She has recently learned of the "attack on Hindu beliefs" in Oh My God and Student of the Year, and she demands to know why filmmakers reserve the "bad light" for Hindu beliefs and names. While Oh My God is a satire on magical thinking and rituals, Student of the Year is in trouble because it happens to have a song called 'Sexy Radha' with these lyrics: "Radha on the dance floor, Radha likes to party..."

Apart from Swaraj, the song has incensed several Hindu organisations, which have filed complaints about the film. Never mind that the Krishna and Radha strand is entirely at odds with the prissy life-denying worldview that many of these organisations espouse. Wishing away the "sexy" from Radha would be to deprive culture of the Gita Govinda, of Rajasthani miniatures, of the best of our art, music, dance and literature that celebrates the spiritual and erotic connection between them.

Apart from all that, does the leader of the opposition really have to concern herself with a teen movie, you might ask. But then again, while as a politician, her choices are remarkably free and feminist, her intellect razor-sharp and her facade formidable, Swaraj has also been known to choose a mouldy conservative vocabulary. Recall her vow to shave her head, wear white and subsist on chana if Sonia Gandhi became prime minister she was comfortably invoking social practices forced on widowed women in parts of India. She is a hardened cultural warrior as I&B minister, she told Doordarshan's news anchors to wear more modestly cut blouses. That is, when she managed to tear her scandalised eyes away from Fashion TV's parade. And so it isn't entirely surprising that, amid a stacked legislative agenda, Swaraj has focused all her grim resolve on a high-school musical.

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