Foreign locations, swanky cars, lyrics peppered with a smattering of luxury brands, and a garishly styled man who doesn’t fit in the equation except for the fact that he legit OWNS all of what I just named! Doesn’t that sound like every Punjabi song video these days? Oh wait, I missed an important mention here: a gorgeous woman, who literally has no job except for eyeing the aforementioned man’s money and begging him for expensive stuff. You guessed it right, gold-digger is the word!
The saddest part of this all? Punjabi songs are blowing up right now. The industry is only getting bigger by the day, which translates to better reach and more impact on the impressionable Indian minds! No wonder, the word gold-digger is floated like an everyday term these days with anyone dating an affluent man constantly running the risk of being termed one.
No wonder, statements like “Ghar dekha hai uske boyfriend ka? Pakka gold-digger hai” are pretty basic to hear these days. Oh btw, I did not make this up, this is what my 18-year-old cousin had to say about his landlord’s wife without any background on where she comes from. Clearly, the Punjabi songs are propagating the gold-digger trope unlike ever before. But dig digger and you'll hit up the bigger problem, the one that's not highlighted in these songs. Wonder what that might be? Read on:
Remember Mahira Sharma begging for a "mehenga lehenga” and cribbing about wearing the same damn heels for a year in Jass Manak’s Mainu Lehenga La De song? Of course, you do! The song’s still going strong and so is the gold digger trope, nicely cemented in it. Harrdy Sandhu’s Naah featuring Nora Fatehi is yet another song with a similar message. Oh also, Bohemia’s Jaguar where the babe promises endless love in return for a Jaguar!
We’d like to start with a question here: who is writing all these women characters who legit got nothing on subtlety? Also, these writers seriously need to come out of their gold-encrusted butts here and see the actual world where so many women do this weird thing called ‘earning their own living and buying their own things.’ Also, why on earth are you even dedicating an entire song to a woman who wants nothing but your money peeps, write songs about women who genuinely love you na! Or wait, does your sexist mindset makes it absolutely unfathomable for you to think of such women characters? Or worse, is it absolutely unfathomable to get such women to date you given your own obsession with all these cars and shiz? Now, what’s that you ask? Read on...
So the hero in most of the contemporary Punjabi songs is all about unending “swag” and, of course, hoards of Gucci, Armani, and every popular luxury brand to wear and fleets of Lamborghini, Ferraris, and the other ultra-premium cars to drive. This is a man who likes to live life king size, we get it. Oh, this also is a man who is super proud of how his girlfriend is constantly asking him for things and he isn’t one to indulge her 'coz real love is what he really wants. However, this man himself is hardly capable of thinking about anything beyond the fancy cars and possessions he has.
To be clear, this man (more often than not clad in gold chains) is basically cribbing about an equally materialistic woman. It’s basic Karma boy! You are attracting exactly what you are and perhaps that should be a lesson enough why you need to come up with better lyrics and better women characters. Long things short: either both of you are cool or both of you are shitty for constantly bickering about material possessions. You cannot get so selective in the portraiture simply on the basis of gender!
Interestingly, the gold-digger woman is not the only stereotype that the Punjabi music industry is pedaling. They are also really attached to the entire idea of Punjabis living it up and spending money like it’s nobody’s business. To be clear, I am not saying there’s anything wrong with it. All I am saying is that for how long can you keep making songs that run somewhat on the following lines: Omg! I am so rich, like Jaguar rich! Omg, my girlfriends are so hot. She weighs 47, has a 28-inch waist, brown eyes, and super fair skin. But oh shit, all this hottie wants is my money! I mean, how fair is it for a man who cannot see beyond his money and a woman’s body to expect real sentiments from her?
Dear Punjabi songwriters, yes, we accept that there are shitty people of all the genders but there also exist amazing people who make their own living and don't give two hoots about your money. And we wouldn't have to point it out, had it not been for an absolute lack of independent women characters in your songs. Get out of your rabbit hole, learn to see women beyond their looks, bodies, and skin colour and perhaps then you'd be able to conceptualise women characters who can think of things beyond money!
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