Kapil Seshasayee, a Scottish multi-instrumentalist and songwriter previously known for his work critiquing caste, released a video for his latest single “The Item Girl” this month. The song and video call into question the item girl trope in Bollywood movies in which young women are overly-sexualized and employed as props. Seshasayee described the item girl trope as one layered with “a false veneer of female empowerment and feminism,” and he wanted to break down the ways in which Bollywood props up problematic ideas about gender norms.
Seshasayee’s last album, A Sacred Bore, explored caste-based oppression from Seshasayee’s perspective as an upper-caste man in the South Indian diaspora. His approach blends artistry with close study, employing layered complex soundscapes that intersect with lyrics that he bases in his own interpretation of political theory and history. “The Item Girl,” though influenced by sounds that are quite different from his previous work and include albums like Solange’s A Seat at the Table, reflects this same type of creation.
Watch “The Item Girl” video below.