10 May, 2021

The Shaken Booty

On women, sex, Bollywood’s hypocrisy knows no bars

Illustration by Sorit
The Shaken Booty

What would be a good starting point? Badnaam Basti? This was a film from 1971 that had a homosexual couple, two men, and did not seek to laugh at them, nor demonise them. Since then we have had My Brother Nikhil and Dostaana, but is there a line that can be drawn from one to the other? Can one begin with Love, Sex Aur Dhokha? That was truly an original film that located love in the time of the post-modern; it ain’t love until it has been recorded somewhere and turned into a figment of virtual reality. But take the end of Daag, 1973, in which it seems as if the three corners of the love triangle are about to implode and end in a centroid, which, in France, might be described as a menage a trois.

This is why one must be careful when dealing with something as sinusoidal as Hindi cinema. It does not progress. It does not allow itself to be plotted. It takes a few steps forward and then, horrified at its own daring, backs off again.

But how can it be otherwise? Every creative person...

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