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‘Bollywood should depict endangered species of birds in some form or the other’

The Department of Economics, University of Delhi, has come out with a paper analysing and exploring the depiction of birds in Bollywood in its over 100-year history.

Written by Zeeshan Shaikh | Mumbai |
May 9, 2017 4:15:08 am

One theme that Bollywood has constantly explored and relied on is nature — flowers and birds. The Department of Economics, University of Delhi, has come out with a paper analysing and exploring the depiction of birds in Bollywood in its over 100-year history. The paper also attempts to assess the changing trend in depiction of birds in Bollywood over time.

The research work was started by making a database of all the songs that had mention of birds in them. A total of 100 such songs were identified.

A detailed analysis of the 100 songs reveals that in addition to the generic word panchii (bird) in the songs, the most commonly used bird is the peafowl. The peacock has been used in songs from the beginning, perhaps because of its beauty and size. This perhaps also explains the reason why the peacock was chosen to be the National Bird of India in the 1960s even when ornithologist Salim Ali had recommended the endangered Great Indian Bustard to be made the National Bird of India, says the paper.

Sparrow, koyal, bulbul and parakeets are other birds that find prominent mention in Bollywood songs to depict various human emotions. Interestingly, parakeet and myna are often used together to depict a love-pair even though these are two different species.

Throughout the hundred years of its existence, Bollywood has significantly used birds in songs to showcase various other emotions of human life, including love, happiness, freedom, sadness, etc. The human emotion most widely exhibited using bird as a metaphor is that of love, followed by happiness, freedom, sadness and beauty.

“Bollywood has so far focused only on the more popular bird species, most of which are not under threat of extinction. Bollywood can play a much more significant role in bird conservation if it can learn from local folklore and shift towards depicting endangered species of birds in some or the other form,” says the report.

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