The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 15 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dal veteran raises item number storm

Shivanand Tiwari

Patna, Jan. 14: In this silly season of finding reasons behind incidents like rape and molestation, Shivanand Tiwari has added a gem — maybe an “item number” — to the controversy.

The JD(U) Rajya Sabha MP and spokesperson even turned to the myth of Vishwamitra. “Items numbers in recent Bollywood films are very provocative. In Indian mythology, Rambha and Maneka broke the meditation of Vishwamitra with their dance. You can imagine the impact of item numbers on this generation of youths. It is a very serious matter in the society.”

On the sideline of dahi-chura feast at Strand Road where chief minister Nitish Kumar was also present to celebrate Makar Sankranti, the 70-year-old leader said: “It is a very serious matter in our society where crimes like rape and gang rape are taking place. I think the body of women is widely being used in films, songs and advertisements, especially the catchy item numbers. The item numbers provokes men towards sex which lead to incidents like gang rape.”

Item numbers are song and dance sequences that have no direct link to the plot of a film but help a movie gain popularity with theatrical trailers on small screen even weeks before its box-office release.

“Just look at the item numbers in the Bollywood today. It is a very serious matter and to solve theses issues, we all have to join hands,” the veteran said.

However his observations have not gone well with tinsel town diva Neetu Chandra. “Such kind of comments are only used for publicity. It is baseless and does not have any meaning. If he is having such a strong opinion against item numbers then why does not he do anything to eliminate such songs from the numerous Bhojpuri films? Only a weak person can come up with such a comment who does not have any substantial justification to deal with such social issues and problems.”

But Tiwari was not perturbed. “The Bollywood item numbers are the main problems which have created so much of problems in the society. Such songs should not be part of the Bollywood,” he almost dictated.

The JD(U) was recently caught in the wrong foot when its president Sharad Yadav was quoted: “Khap panchayats are rightly defending women.” However, soon after his views had been aired, he clarified that his remarks were taken in wrong context.

However, that did not stop spiritual guru Asaram Bapu commenting on the Delhi gang rape case. While addressing his followers, the self-styled godman said that the victim should have called rapists brothers and should have begged them for mercy. Actress Neetu was quite vocal against Asaram also. “A few days back, I heard what Asaram Bapu said. It was really shocking. I really do not understand what’s wrong with these people; why cannot they do something instead of coming up with awful comments.”

The RJD general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP, Ram Kripal Yadav, also slammed Tiwari for the comments. “Only a person of mean mentality can speak like this. How an item number can be held responsible for crimes like rape and gang rapes? He is a very senior, matured and educated politician and comments like this do not suit to his personality. I strongly condemn his comments,” said Ram Kripal.