Monali Thakur’s “O Re Naseeba” sends out a strong message in solidarity with the #MeToo movement, depicting women in different stages of their lives with respect to the harassment they face, and how the times are now changing to give them the voice and means to fight back.
The track showcases three dances, highlighting the plight of women in everyday life, and seeks to send out a message of empowerment. “O Re Naseeba” is Krishika Lulla’s directorial debut, and she works her way splendidly, introducing the narrative of a young girl being inappropriately touched by a lecherous uncle, venting her anger through her performance of ‘tandaav’ dance. The second stage depicts a youngster being physically harassed by her male friends in a car and subsequently thrown out of the vehicle. The third and final image of the song depicts an aspiring actress facing humiliation at the hands of a sleazy director. The song ends with a message of hope, revenge and empowerment – the uncle in question dies after a hospital equipment malfunction, the young boys crash their vehicle into an embankment along the road and the director faces jail in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
The music blends in with the message and imagery of the video excellently. Heavy guitar riffs introduce us to the trials of women, right from an early age. A confident, steadfast and somewhat angry Thakur sings about how it feels when your world comes crashing down due to the actions of others. The songs repetitive chorus, “O Re Naseeba”, reinforces the transformation of a woman’s destiny from being resigned to the fates to taking control of her own life. The lyrics are very intimate, blunt and hard-hitting. All the facets of the song are aimed towards depicting anguish, giving a voice to victims of sexual harassment and reinforcing the view that women have the power to hold their own fort and will not tolerate being pushed about.
Overall, the song is uniquely different to the clutter of Bollywood’s greatest hits and serves out a much-required, long-awaited message. It has all the qualities to be memorable and, perhaps more importantly, influential for its audiences.