The Influence of Bollywood Music On Society

Source - Pinterest

The musical notion of Patriarchy is to analyze the sociological and cultural impact of mainstream Bollywood music throughout the years in shaping and establishing social identities, attitudes, and ideals for audiences in India. As far as the lyrical narrative has changed, so have the musical elements of the composition over the decades. 

While the lyrical aspect provides a more apparent peek into our cultural psyche, the musical elements help us understand what the musical industry has deemed as more marketable and helps us segue into the Indian audience’s musical consumption patterns.


Taking five films to support this very statement from the decades 2000s and 2010s. 

1. Starting with the film “Hum apke hai kon“ featuring a song ‘Chocolate Lime Juice’, we see an upper-class girl (Madhuri Dixit) who is coming to terms with her femininity but has no outlets for her feelings. 

The rift between her childhood imagery and her feelings towards her love interest emphasizes a notion of moving out of childhood into being in love with a man, which is representative of themes of love and arranged marriage that are often thrust upon women as the ideal. 

2. In another instance, “Hum Tum”, a 2004 film, featuring a song called “Ladki kyon”; the lyrical narrative of this song is criticism of the opposite gender, using the popular media trope of Man vs. Woman and the constant push to one-up the other in some way. 

3. Looking at more recent examples of “Maa da Laadla” from the film “Dostana” sings about a mother‘s inability to cope with her son’s apparent homosexuality which is described as a “disease of the heart”, revealing that themes of minority sexual orientations were being explored, however in ways that were still derogatory and uninformed. 

It is not only the lyrics that have presented a cultural psyche that still retains certain notions of a patriarchal, homophobic society but also acts as fertile soil for these flawed ideologies to manifest into real-world bias.

4. The compositional aspects have undergone immense changes over the past few years, favoring the use of more synthesized tones starting from the last decade, while the lyrics sustain the patriarchal tones, as seen in the song ‘Lucky tu lucky me’ from the film, “Humpty Sharma ki Dulhanyia” where the hero is singing about how he will disregard and violate the heroine’s consent, wrapped up in a Trap-inspired musical arrangement. 

Since synthesized compositions can be quicker to produce and fine tune later on, we’ve seen catchy tunes being pushed upon audiences due to their sheer marketability in being quick to produce and generate maximal profit. 


The choice of the lyrical themes is deliberate, to cater to audiences that similar to the song itself, seem innocent at first but harbor disturbing overtones. 

This particular song also plays into the ‘boys will be boys’ sentiment towards harassment, which Bollywood has come to accept as an ideal expression of ‘love’. The themes in these songs range from growing into a romanticized view of love to blatant disrespect towards one’s consent, which most probably does not accurately reflect how deeply entrenched patriarchal and regressive values are in society, but do represent how tolerant and accepting audiences have become of disturbing themes being showcased in mainstream media. 

Written By - Amulya Sriharsha

Edited By - Tushna Choksey

Post a Comment