Male nudity vs female nudity in Bollywood
Kudos to Aamir Khan for his ‘Adam’ avatar in the upcoming film PK, directed by Rajubhai Hirani! He is the latest icon of male sexuality in Bollywood as evident from the growing number of hits on the first trailer of the movie on YouTube.com featuring him in the buff and the ongoing discussions around it. Shah Rukh Khan, Neil Nitish Mukesh, Rahul Bose and Rajkumar Rao are among the predecessors of Aamir, in this respect. They donned the full naked look in Maya Memsab, Jail, English August, and Shahid respectively.
Some people are overly critical of Amir’s nude appearance in the first poster of PK, accusing him of spreading vulgarity, promoting obscenity and exciting sexual violence. Such defamatory comments as “Amir should perform in porn movie that will make him lots of money and cheap popularity,” “Amir goes nude so his hajj is no more,” “He lost his clothes along with the mind,” “This movie is only for stupid people,” and likes have been pouring in on the first trailer of PK on YouTube.com.
I am wondering why full monty of the male sex draws bitter flak and frown from the same gender, while exploitation of female sexuality for steamy bed scenes and hot item numbers in Bollywood is appreciated under the pretext of creative justice to the script. The Eves of Bollywood including Sunny Leone, Poonam Pandey, Sherlin Chopra, Sonali Raut and Surveen Chawla are offering the apple of unbarred sensuality (which is no more a forbidden fruit) to their co-stars and audience of the opposite sex.
We know all that script is the life and soul, and story is the flesh and blood of the movies starring Amir Khan in the lead. In the series of Amir Khan movies, Lagaan, Dil Chahta Hai, Sarfarosh, 3 Idiots, Dhobi Ghat, and Talaash are full of meat. He has done the best to justify his characters according to the scripts till date. Evidently, Amir Khan’s nude appearance in the first poster of PK is significant. The relevance of such a poster will be established once the movie is released on 19th December this year.
Male sexuality is still nipped in the bud in Indian Cinema though the advertising world is leveraging its marketing potentiality for underwear, deodorant and condom brands. The same people who are critical of Aamir’s Adam avatar are consumers of Bollywood divas’ bareback and topless appearances in movies and on lifestyle magazine covers. Of course, it is natural for the male audience or consumers to gobble down female nudity.
Indian Cinema has witnessed to the treatment of women’s sexuality from the era of Raj Kapoor movies to the present time when female nudity is used as the best bait to hit the jackpot. Raj Kapoor treated the sexuality of his heroines as a manifestation of nature’s sensuous beauty in John Keats’ poems. The shot of Mandakini as a rural belle wrapped in a white piece of cloth without innerwear and taking bath in the stream is somewhat relevant to the background and characterization.
The scripts of the movies had no space for male sexuality in the bygone eras of Indian Cinema. The only space for the heroes to showcase their physical charisma (not machismo) was action with villains to protect their ladyloves and the family. The villains in the “old is gold” Bollywood movies, to name Pran, Ranjeet, Omresh Puri, Prem Chopra, and Shakti Kapoor, were fortunate enough to exhibit their manliness in rape sequences.
With the end of formula movies in mainstream cinema, Bollywood’s typical villains have faded into the wood. It has benefited today’s heroes with opportunities to give an account of manliness not as raping villains but romantic characters in lovemaking scenes. They are still deprived of the chance to make an indelible impression of their sexuality in form of virility in bed scenes as skimpily dressed heroines are made to dominate the space, most of the times. Their bareback, bare legs, topless appearance and side shots of the front steal the show with the audience. The female body, not the male body is the focus of camera, during shooting of lovemaking scenes in Bollywood movies.
The marketing potentiality of female nudity in the first posters and trailers of movies to be released is exploited to create a buzz in the public memory at the pre-production stage. For example, Kareena Kapoor’s bareback in the posters of Kurbaan, Udita Goswami’s bareback in the posters of Zeher, Jacqueline Fernandez’s bareback in Murder 2 posters, Sunny Leone’s itsy-bitsy ink bikini in the posters of Murder 3, Paoli Dam’s bareback in Hate Story posters, and most recently Survin Chawla’s bareback in Hate Story 2 posters. If I am not wrong, Amir Khan is the first Bollywood actor to have given a nude shot for the poster of an upcoming film.
These days, sex comedies like Grand Masti and erotic thrillers like Xpose serve female nudity as a delight to senses. Women’s sexuality is the secret to the success of the series of Jism and Murder movies. Bollywood producers have been raking in mullah by exploiting Sunny Leone’s hot properties in item numbers. So, where is the space for male sexuality in Indian Cinema except a few art films?
If Sunny Leone could give a nude shot covering her bosoms with her hands in the song Baby Doll in Ragini MMS 2, why can’t Amir? If Bollywood actresses have fans to go gaga over their exposure, actors, too, have their own. If sexuality is used for the sake of creative justice to scripts, stories and characterization as most of the directors say, why there are watering tongues for female nudity, and angry eyes for male nudity?