The Dirty hit picture: Is Hindi cinema finally embracing its sexual side

Written by Ranjib Mazumder | Mumbai | Updated: Jul 5 2014, 19:12pm hrs
Ranvir Singh-DurexRanveer Singh in a recent condom ad.
Last year Grand Masti became the first film with adult humour to cross the 100-crore club milestone. Ragini MMS 2 (2014) starring Sunny Leone soon followed, hailed as the vanguard of the horrex (horror+sex) genre. Producer Ekta Kapoor has announced a same-gender love story called Romil and Jugal, which is scripted by Anu Menon and would be directed by Danish Aslam. There are many more films in the offing with an increased sexual quotient. Is Bollywoods sexual image coming-of-age now

Riding the Leone wave, the makers of Mastizaade, an upcoming adult comedy, cut a trailer featuring her as character Laila Lele with a few bananas to grab eyeballs. Rangita Nandy, producer of Mastizaade, claims that its not a trailer of the film. Its a marketing gimmick. Instead of having a typical launch, we thought of it as an interesting way to start the promotion. The film is an adult comedy along the lines of the American Pie series, and has a wicked sense of humour. We are not going to be prudes here. Actors become stars depending on what audience they pull in. Now Sunny has a huge fan base, she can sell tickets, hence she is more important than actors who cant, says Nandy.

Even though I am only two movies old, I have been in the entertainment business for many years, says Leone, so the refining process has already happened but I am learning new things about Bollywood all the time. How people want to see me is their own opinion and I am fine with that. My true fans are supportive and thats what matters.

After the gay kiss scene in Bombay Talkies (2013), directed by Karan Johar, filmmakers are keen to go full throttle into this hitherto unchartered territory. Other than Romil and Jugal, two more same-sex love stories are currently in production. This is at a time when homosexuality is yet to be decriminalised. Viacoms next, Margarita With A Straw, helmed by Shonali Bose, deals with a woman (Kalki Koechlin) who discovers that she is a bisexual. If you look at Queen, the story is about a conservative girl, so an opposite character like Vijayalakshmi was required. As the society is evolving, we are thinking of cinema that is cutting edge, new and innovative. Our next film, Margarita With A Straw, is about a cerebral palsy patient and how she discovers her sexuality. I think films of today are mirroring the mood of post liberalisation in India, says Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Motion Pictures.

Parveez Shaikh, co-writer of Queen (2014) who wrote the character of the sexually liberated Vijayalakshmi (Lisa Haydon), says, I think the subjects have become bolder. Many in the audience are open to newer subjects and are being the catalysts in this change. Sex sells but its important as to how its been packaged. Heroines wearing bikinis hardly make headlines now and lip locks have become quite the norm in films.

Bollywoods sexual coming-of-age is not just restricted to films but the change is everywhere. Ranveer Singh, a star post Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013), becomes the first Bollywood star to endorse a condom brand, Durex. Singh recently released a peppy rap music video Do the Rex which has been written and sung by him. Sex is still a taboo in our country and the idea behind my association with Durex is to create awareness around sexual well-being, promote safe sex and have fun while doing it. I believe intimacy is never just physical, but emotional too. Id like the youth of the nation to talk more openly about safe sex by normalizing the conversation, says Singh.

Kissing is the new hugging. Thats what life is now. I have children, and we watch so many bold films without even feeling odd about it, which was not the case in my generation. I feel saas bahu shows have become what films used to be. So films have to deal with bolder and newer subjects that live up to the palette of the new generation, says Patel.

Our films are reflecting the changing worldview, finally. Thanks to globalisation, we have media boom, internet explosion, and Indians have started travelling a lot. Even in advertising, a real estate firm would show a bikini clad woman lounging in the pool. Indians, especially the young generation, are having way more sex than our films depict anyway, says Ajay Bahl, director B.A.Pass (2013). And to some, sex will always be there, veiled or exposed, in our films and media. The commodification is bound to happen. Cinema is a commodity. We should stop purifying it, terming it as selling art. Largely, cinema is a mix of art and commerce. Its an attempt to make the movie going audience to opt for our film instead of going to a mall, or shopping, says Nandy.

And curiosity about sex is never going to wither away either. Sex will always be a commodity. Everyone is curious about sex, says Bahl.