The landscape of Indian cinema and television has had a tremendous transformation. In this new avatar, no topic is too bold, too risque or too much!
David Frost, the great British journalist and writer once said — “The television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your home.” The Indian media does take that as its gospel.
Each passing year, a variety of programmes and movies are unleashed upon the audience who hungrily lap up what the visual medium has to offer. We look at some of them that have shown the audience something that they’ve never seen before.
If there is any word that people use as sparingly as possible, it is the word porn. And even if they do, they make sure the conversation is even more secretive than the banter in the Pentagon. And suddenly, it is no longer a taboo, thanks to a lady called Sunny Leone.
It is probably the first time ever that a pornographic actress has ever been introduced on Indian Television on any show. And it is no surprise that bringing her into the Big Boss 5 is a well-strategised move — the more the excitement in the Big Boss house, the merrier the audience.
Bina Aziz, artist and gallerist, and the wife of noted singer Talat Aziz, says, “While we do not have control on movies, what happens at home can be controlled. Everybody now talks about Sunny Leone, including kids. They all want to know more about the lady in discussion, which is kind of worrisome. Big Boss 5 is aired at a time when the whole family is at home, so I believe that the media should exercise restraint on how far they can go to gain TRPs.”
The recent years have also seen movies like Donno Y… Na Jaane Kyon, a film on gay relationships that had for the first time, male protagonists Aryan Vaid and Kapil Sharma kiss on screen. Mango Souffle, a film that although did not do well commercially, is considered way ahead of its time.
Akbar Sami, one of the country’s most sought-after DJs, says “It is plain disgusting the way sensitive issues are projected on screen. There is no message that they are conveying really — it is all about trying to show the audience something they have never seen before, but nobody seems to care about what they are really showing on screen. Mindless entertainment seems to be the order of the day.”
Bhavna Pani, Bollywood actress and model opines, “What the Indian media is showing now has already been done in the West. It had to happen one day, and I think the time is now. But to be honest, I neither consider it progression, nor regression. I am not proud of what I see — I just got used to it.”
The latest movie Desi Boyz is an attempt to show the audience ‘interesting professions’ one can consider. Sanjay Dutt is the owner of a male escort club that John Abraham and Akshay Kumar become part of. And of course, the film is all about how the duo fulfills fantasies of the ladies in town. The movie is set in London, but if we go by a dialogue that Sanjay Dutt says in the end, it wouldn’t be a surprise if there is a Desi Boyz 2 with India as the ‘blessed destination’ for the club!
Colston Julian, noted celebrity photographer says, “I have seen how the media has metamorphosed to what it is today. But I think it is also time we matured in our thought processes. I was curious about who this Sunny Leone is, and what I got when I googled her name, I honestly had to close the window! And when she did come to India, she was treated like royalty. I don’t understand why everything has to be sensationalised by the media. But on hindsight perhaps, if there is a large chunk of audience asking for it, the media is bound to produce it,” he summarises.
There are a spate of other movies like That Girl In Yellow Boots,Love, Sex aur Dhoka, and lesser-known names like It’s a Man’s World, and Mittal vs Mittal who have all shown aspects that were never before talked about. A part of society frowns on this sort of depiction of women and subjects that are taboo. But most of the youngsters are not in the bit bothered by this trend. It is the truth now, and confronting it is better than avoiding it.