A feminist remix of A R Rahman’s iconic ‘Urvashi’ song has been going viral over the weekend, but the two girls featuring in its video are facing a torrent of abuse over social media platforms.
The song which was created by Breakthrough, a non-profit organisation, to raise awareness about prevalent gender inequalities and misogyny in society, has received overwhelming public support with 187,000 views and 1200 shares over the last two days.
However, the organisation is being attacked by trolls, who are indulging in vicious abuse as well as body shaming one of the actors.
“Why are feminists always some fat or ugly c***s?” reads one of the abusive comments on Facebook.
Another comment on YouTube reads, “I don’t know whether she can break the glass ceiling but she will definitely break the ceiling if she dances anymore on the terrace.”
Reacting to the backlash, Breakthrough posted on Facebook, “This past week, we decided to make a feminist remix of the popular 90’s song ‘Urvashi’, composed by A R Rahman. We wanted to send a simple message of solidarity to the struggles of women everywhere. The video went viral, with several news outlets picking it up, and we are grateful for the support. However, on Friday, several of our team members began receiving hate messages, messages that had no purpose but to bully, harass and intimidate, messages filled with the kind of violence that would be frowned upon in any civilized society.”
“While we are thankful to all those who supported us, it was a weekend that was extremely unpleasant to several members of our team who were personally targeted on social media and made to feel unsafe. So it is at this time that we wonder as loudly as we can. When will this stop? How long will feminist voices continue to be shouted down by what can be best described as a mob? How long will feminist women, and members of marginalised groups continue to be made to feel unsafe for speaking out? We appreciate feedback on the video. If you didn’t like it, we appreciate you telling us that you didn’t, and possibly why you didn’t. But we simply could not conceive of a form of legitimate ‘criticism’ that warrants calling someone a ‘whale’. This is abuse. This is an attack. Plain and simple. And this is unacceptable. Your attacks are not going to deter us. We will continue with our work of using pop culture to challenge misogyny. We are thinking about the next steps to respond to this and no options are off the table. Till then, we’d like to thank everyone who supported us. If you were one of those who supported us, please reach out to us. Tell us your stories, and feel free to share ours,” the post further said.
According to Breakthrough the purpose of the song was to get public support to challenge sexism, promote gender equality and celebrate women’s freedom. “As part of our routine work in the digital space, we try to address the issues of gender-based discrimination, misogyny and patriarchy perpetuated by popular culture, especially Bollywood, via our social media platforms.
“It was during one of such initiatives where we tried to create a feminist remix of AR Rahman’s popular ‘Urvashi’ track giving out the message that ‘You are awesome Urvashi and you don’t take it easy if someone tries to put you down!” the organisation said.
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