Madhuri Dixit’s song ‘Choli Ke Peechey’ created panic all over the country, Doordarshan banned the song
On Madhuri Dixit’s birthday, today we are going to tell you about the most controversial song of the actress’s career.
In the summer of 1993, when the first song of Subhash Ghai’s Khalnayak released, people were taken by surprise. The song was ‘Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai’. The opening lyrics of the song were enough to make the conservatives uncomfortable. There was so much unease about the song that about 32 organizations objected to the song. At that time the music album of Khalnayak sold one crore cassettes in just one week, which was a record at that time. Even when the film was released, the most talked about song was about this song. Featuring a soulful performance by Madhuri Dixit, music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, lyrics by Anand Bakshi, choreographed by Saroj Khan and sung by Alka Yagnik and Ila Arun, the song became a super hit.
Madhuri is considered one of the best dancers in English cinema, but in ‘Choli Ke Peeche’ she did something that was beyond her talent. Her character in the song is Ganga (a name associated with purity according to ancient Hindu mythology) who dances to a song about love and longing. Ganga does all this and without being overly sexual, but sexy nonetheless. She does such dance steps, which probably other actresses could have done, but Madhuri has the skills that no other actress has. She charms them with her innocence and turns from innocently flirtatious in seconds. Madhuri’s performance in the song is worth watching.
There was so much controversy over the song that at one point Doordarshan and All India Radio banned it. Lyricist Anand Bakshi was asked about the ‘double meaning’ of his song in a 1993 conversation with Mrityunjay Kumar Jha and called the song obscene. Responding, Anand had said, “What is obscene in this? This is a Rajasthani folk song. It is played in weddings. The mind is engaged in the bodice itself. If you are wearing a shirt then your heart will be inside the shirt. You have heard traditional Punjabi songs, if you start discussing them in English, they may sound vulgar, but they are not.”
Wedding songs in Punjab are famous for being heavy on sexual overtones, and this is true for many regional folk songs as well, but ‘Choli Ke Peeche’ ruffled a few feathers and that was probably because here a woman proudly flaunts her sexual identity. Was claiming wishes and she was not even a villain who was doing this to divert the attention of the hero. It was a heroine named Ganga who was dancing to the song to attract the attention of the ‘villain’ Ballu, played by Sanjay Dutt. At that time Sanjay Dutt in real life was behind bars for his involvement in the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts case.
30 years later, if this song had been released today, there would still be a lot of protest about the song. The placement of the song in the film was such that the controversy subsided after watching the film. Madhuri had said in an interview with Amar Ujala in 2014, “There was a lot of hue and cry about the back of the bodice. People protested a lot but when they saw the film, they became silent. People loved the picturization of the song and even those who opposed the song were appreciating it.”
Protests against the song did not stop even after the release of the film. In fact, an appeal against the film was made in a Delhi court with a request to stop the screening on the grounds of obscenity, but the judges said it did not offend public decency in any way.