Planet Bollywood
Sexual Themes in Bollywood
- Shahid Khan           Let us know what you think about this feature article

Recent flops like "Kis Kis Ki Kismat" and "Tumsa Nahin Dekha" have not stopped the current obsession that Bollywood is having with sexual themes. The pre-release promotion and publicity of these films revolved around sexuality and kissing scenes. One cinema owner in India opined that movies with just sex as its main attraction do not work anymore.

The stubborn industry that Bollywood is, it refuses to listen to this hint. Instead, encouraged by the so-called success of "Tauba Tauba", more and more films are being produced with hot scenes as their main attraction.

Adultery is currently one of the most popular themes. It allows the director to claim that their film is "groundbreaking" and that they are tackling taboo issues. Meanwhile, to tackle this "sensitive thought-provoking issue", directors can throw in as many steamy scenes as they like. Homosexuality (ideally lesbianism) and male teenage crushes (ideally on heavily busted women in their late twenties) are two other topics, which directors are exploring at the moment. Makers of films such as "Ek Choti Si Love Story" and "Girlfriend" insult other serious and dedicated filmmakers when they claim that they are educating the audience with their brand of cinema.

There is nothing at all wrong with tackling sexual themes in films. But this current rash of movies with adult themes avoids the actual debate that their stories bring up. Rather, they concentrate on titillating the male viewers with fantasised images of women. Well, when the directors and the actors themselves are ignorant of the subjects in their movies then what hope do we have? For instance, in an interview prior to the release of obsession drama, "Girlfriend", Amrita Arora said that often homosexuals are people who have been abused in their childhood and that causes them to be the way they are. The level of ignorance here is astounding. Somebody please tell the actress that most gays and lesbians are people who have had a normal and happy childhood.

It all began with the commercial success of "Ek Choti Si Love Story". It did not break box office records but it made enough profit off the whole Manisha Koirala-naked body double controversy. Next came Bipasha Basu with her "Ajnabee", "Raaz" and more significantly, "Jism". "Jism" is the film that has opened this can of worms. Its box office success showed everyone that a lazily directed film (it was, after all, nothing but a cheap knockoff of the Hollywood classic, "Body Heat") with lots of erotic scenes is capable of pulling in the punters. Bipasha was hailed as the next big thing- the actress with the difference, the actress who is not afraid to go where other coy heroines wouldnīt dare. Other wannabe film heroines quickly made advantage of this latest trend. The Mallika Sherawats, Payal Rohatgis and Meghna Naidus are all now fighting for the crown of the sleaze queen. Somebody like Bipasha Basu can easily be replaced by hundreds of wannabes. Doesnīt that tell you something?

The trend is not ending there. After insulting and degrading women and the gay community, film directors are going a step further to push the limit. And that limit is just too far. Currently, a film is being made about a woman who undergoes the trauma of rape. For revenge, she decides to "seduce" her rapist. How seduction can act as revenge is something beyond my understanding. But that is the mentality of these fly-by-night-letīs-make-a-quick-rupee filmmakers who take a socially relevant issue and twist it into something lewd. I refuse to name the movie, as I do not want to give it the publicity that it doesnīt deserve. The filmīs first look poster looks like it was shot for a porn magazine. It is obvious who the target audience is. With the leading heroine boasting that she bares her chest in the rape scene, you can bet your last penny that this is not a social drama aimed at the female audience.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Recent films that had steamy scenes as their "USP" have fallen flat at the box office. "Ab... Bas!”, yet another film promoted with soft-porn posters and the actual plot pretending to highlight a social injustice (in this case, domestic violence) couldnīt even hold itself up against "Hulchul", a family entertainer. Hopefully, similar films in the future will also get the cold shoulder from the audience.


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