Bollywood Buzz

Film frat sings ‘Betiyaan’ for the girl child

Once again, the government is looking to our Bollywood stars to initiate a campaign, and help it spread awareness. And this time, like they did with a song on unity called Miley Sur Mera Tumahara, it’s a musical video with a lilting song, and stars narrating parts of a story – and this is part of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s Save The Girl Child campaign.

The lead singer of the song (for which Nikhil Kamath is the music director), Shankar Mahadevan, tells us, “The song is titled Betiyaan. It’s too early to say how it will be accepted, but what I can say is that music is a very powerful medium to convey emotions – and by associating with this project, offering my little bit of support, I have tried to use that medium to get the message across. At the end of the day, you can only take the horse to the river. So, our duty is to convey the feeling through the song. Even if 2% of them act, do something, change their mindset, I’ll say we’ve achieved our goal.”

The video will feature filmi faces; Sonakshi Sinha, Raveena Tandon, Shilpa Shetty, Shamita Shetty, Hema Malini, Shankar Ehsan Loy, South star Nagarjuna, filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, and others have already shot for the video.

Mehra didn’t give it a second thought before deciding to take out time for this video. “It was just two hours that they asked for. Actually, I believe we should all feel guilty with the way we treat the baby girl – as a country, what is it that we are doing? Every day we hear of female foetuses being found, the girl child being aborted, look at the cases we’ve come across – baby girls as young as three months old being burnt and tortured with cigarette butts – no matter what I say, there are no words to describe this feeling of utter disgust that rises within me.”

So, if by being part of this, in however minuscule a way, I can help create some kind of awareness, it is my duty,” says Rakeysh. “We need some dynamic groundwork, reforms in the judiciary and a paradigm shift in the way society thinks, for this to work. But even then, we just need to keep working relentlessly, trying to change the social mindset – that’s all this problem is about. Mindset.”

When Raveena was asked for her time for this video, it was an immediate yes. “I’ve worked for this cause for quite a while. I adopted a girl child when I was young, and I run an orphanage for girls in Mumbai. Supporting this video was just an extension of all of that. I am glad that there is, finally, so much furore and an awakening now for the safekeeping of the girl child. I shot for just one day, and that is so little to give for something with such a strong message. Actually, I couldn’t stop crying when I was shooting – it was that touching,” says the actress.

The film is being directed by adman-turned-filmmaker Raajeev Walia, and he says, “I’m also in talks with two female singers, and some more Bollywood stars. Most have been gracious with their time and support. I’ve been working on this project for 3-4 months now, recording is still in progress, some portions are left to be shot. Once that is in place, we’ll launch the video. I also developed the storyboard for this video – each star is a character in this musical storytelling. It’s about a family that has a son and a daughter. The message we are trying to get across is, the boy is like the girl in every way when they’re born – and then they grow up, go their ways, both become successful, so why this discrimination? An international artiste, Alisha Budhrani, is playing the daughter in the video that ends with a question – ‘Why then are girls killed?’.”

Walia says he heard the lyrics when he was shooting another ad for the ministry with Raveena, and approached the govt. When he got the go-ahead, he asked Raveena first.

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