Chane ke Khet mein – chickpea field chronicles


Dear Madhuri Dixit Ma’am,

How are you? Long time.

While I was glancing through your Wikipedia profile, I gathered all the great stuff you’ve been part of. I read that you have been actively involved in promoting children’s education and the safety of women. You also worked towards the social causes such as finding homes for Orphan kids, child trafficking, saving & empowering the Girl Child, etc. There was even a slogan you had popularised – Girl Rising: Woh Padhegi, Woh Udegi. Well done there. If all these were true, which I have no reason to doubt, you might find this post very interesting for weekend reading.

In short, I have a bone to pick with you on the exact topic. This is about a song, one of your most famous one. I hope you remember “Chane ke Khet mein” from the movie Anjaam (1994). Of course, you do. It was a super-duper massive blockbuster song. I remember it was played perpetually by every Autorikshah-wallas, wedding bands, school events and most importantly, middle-class kitchens and living rooms. Kids of our generation used to recite this song by-heart and housewives hummed this while they cooked daal. The Legacy continues to this date, you can see YouTube is filled with its cover performances, including the dance classes. Little girls in their pre-teens perform to this in tictok.

The regrettable part of whole Chickpea field song is, Mrs Madhuri Ji, none of your fans ever tried to understand the lyrics! If they did, it would not be so famous as much as it was or is. I believe you know what I am talking about. The lyrics of this summarizes a few of our society’s most prominent evils, in a celebratory tune!Let me know if you want me to list it down.

  1. It reinforces our obsession with the fair complexion of the skin.
  2. background of the premise is a teen going out into the fields for open defecation!
  3. The most problematic part is that the core concept is unfortunate roughing up of a teenage girl.
  4. And somehow, this song has is a celebratory context and expressed in a for a marriage/wedding event?
  5. How is this a bridal shower song?

Does it even make any sense to you? I can see you dance with your whole heart invested in this song, it’s one of your best dance performances. This indicates what happened to that girl was something to be amazed about, and she is privileged to have gone through it? How appropriate is this?

I believe you were fully aware that these questions will we asked you at some point in your career. And you must’ve been prepared with justification. Why don’t you go ahead and explain yourself? If you get a chance, can you ask Poornima how she felt singing it?

Thanks, Not a fan. – The Bach

P.S.. For the benefit of the readers who do not understand Hindi, here is a translation of the song only for the first few lines.

(I ) was eighteen, innocent and unmarried
(I ) had gone out with (my) face veiled
But (I) got caught and trapped in the chickpea field.
It was a straight-up robbery of (of modesty) in the chickpea field.

First, that evil (guy) caught me by the wrist.
Then he slowly pressed down the finger.
Roughing up and fighting followed in the chickpea field
It was a straight-up robbery (of modesty) in the chickpea field.

I was surrounded by a group of hunters.
Sitting there, were, of known to loot the youth.
I gave up after calling out.

And so on….