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Why Hindi films are dodgy about sex
February 23, 2004
Do you remember the time when a kiss between the hero and heroine in a film was always represented by two roses meeting or a setting sun?
Hindi films no longer shy away from the taboo subject of intimacy. Take the recently released Aruna Raje's Tum, which revolves around adultery.
The film showed Manisha Koirala in bed with her husband (Rajat Kapoor) and lover (Karan Nath) on different occasions. And the actors never looked more uncomfortable. The scenes lacked any chemistry or sincerity.
So while Hindi films may have brought sex out of the closet, they are still extremely uncomfortable about it.
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Why do it if you are so nervous about it?
Koirala was just as uncomfortable in her previous film, Ek Chhotisi Love Story, a frame-to-frame copy of the Polish film, A Short Story About Love. Finally, a body double did the needful. Even Raveena Tandon and Nagarjuna seemed forced in an intimate scene in Agni Varsha.
Some films play safe by showing only dark outlines of the couple in bed like Parinda, Freaky Chakra and Maqbool.
This is not to mean that we need to show more sizzle on screen. The point is, why are our filmmakers trying to incorporate 'scenes' when actors don't seem to be ready for them? Sure, we should change with the changing times. But wouldn't it make better sense for filmmakers to make sure the actors are set to play the part convincingly rather than fumble through it?
Of course, there are those that take convincing to another level: Rahul Bose and Laila Rouass kissed so passionately in Dev Benegal's Split Wide Open that her tooth chipped. Naseeruddin Shah shocked viewers when he kissed Tara Deshpande with fervor in Bombay Boys.
There is also a Mallika Sherawat who proudly announces that 17 kisses in a film do not bother her, a Bipasha Basu who does not mind a bold Jism and a Jackie Shroff, who smooched without abandon in Boom.
Govind Menon's debut film, Danger, was promoted by its aggressive kissing scenes. The film had nothing more to offer. His second film, Khwahish, was promoted in a similar fashion. Ek Chhotisi Love Story was promoted as a sizzling tale, with billboards showing a boy skiing or playing golf off a woman's naked body.
Sure, sex is coming out into the open in the Hindi film industry. Filmmakers are also capitalising on the trend, the better to lure viewers. Most of them tend to handle intimate scenes erotically, rather than sensitively.
Which brings us to the audiences. Are we, the audience, ready for this boldness, considering sex has always been treated as taboo in India?
What do you think?