Lunch time dance party: “Chammak Challo”

I just got back from two weeks in India. My trip, which was mostly play but a little bit of work, was thought-provoking, and I hope to write about it here a little in the coming weeks.

However, because of the ten hour time difference, my body thinks it’s party time right now. Specifically, it’s Bollywood dance party time.

With that in mind, I give you Shahrukh Kahn and Kareena Kapoor in “Chammak Challo,” from the movie Ra.One. (Also, Akon. Did you know that Akon is big in Bollywood at the moment? Now you know).

Eat your sandwich, grab a few coworkers, and break it down.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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  • Leah Oviedo

    If they insist on having half naked dancers, add some half naked men too. So much great music as been ruined for me because men get to be fully clothed and women get to be background dancers in bikinis.

    I was surprised to see this on your site. A fully clothed man surrounded by half naked women is not an image that comes to mind when I see the word feminist.

    • Shahida

      I think Chloe posted this in a more light-hearted spirit, but I agree that the video in question is problematic.

      1) I am sure this is not what the post intended, but showing a Bollywood music video right after a discussion about going to India and having thought-provoking experiences suggests that Bollywood represents something major about India and to some extent, other South Asian cultures. It may be one representation, but it definitely doesn’t do justice to any country or culture. I know this is probably not what Chloe’s post meant to suggest at all, but I think that has to be acknowledged and thought about.

      2) The girls in the video are, yes, less clothed than the men, but what troubles me also is the skin complexion of the backup dancers. In countries like India and Bangladesh white skin is glorified to such a great extent that racism becomes an ingrained part of the culture. In terms of celebrity in this video, it means that Shahrukh Khan can get away with having blue eye contacts, and Kareena can be worshipped for her lighter skin. In Bangladesh you will find products that literally make skin whiter and is advertised in explicitly racist ways. In commercials, you find that the actresses say explicitly, “How can I get lighter skin?” You will also see white mannequins sporting cultural clothing, ignoring the darker skin color of the majority. This video only promotes that mentality.

      3) The fun, free-spirited sexuality in these videos make it very easy for people outside of the culture to “exoticize” India and other South Asian cultures, and ignore the reality of sexual oppression and sexual double standards in these countries that are in my opinion worse than in the US. This allows people to take what they love and are entertained by (the exotic clothes, the dancing, the jewelery) while dismissing the reality associated with the culture itself. It’s always fun to watch these videos, but it’s not always fun to live in the reality of the culture in some of its oppressive aspects.

      I guess what I am trying to say is we should always challenge all types of pop culture even if it’s outside of the USA, because they can be just as problematic and in some cases, even more overtly harmful in their representations.