Bollywood churning out sexed up scripts
Syed Ali Mujtaba
Bollywood that symbolizes Indian cinema follow a horde mentality. It always looks for a set recipe to churn out intoxicant to make viewers glued on their seats in the dark room of the talkies ogling at the sliver screen. The hit formula is rare to strike upon but once it’s bumped on, there is a beeline of filmmakers jumping into the bandwagon to exploit it to its hilt. The whole effort then goes on to package it in all its permutation and combinations to cater to the entertainment hungry Indian audiences.
However, this is not to say that Bollywood only sells repetitive scripts in the five hundred odd movies it produces every year. There were many success stories that are based on a variety of themes and not necessarily on a set formula. If we look back, the trend suggests, in a particular genre some themes remained dominant and many movies were made based on a pet theme. For instance in the fifties and the sixties it was the poverty, squalor and umpteen hardship that formed the base material of the movies. At that time the audience connected themselves with the sorrows and the miseries around them with the protagonist on screen.
In seventies and eighties the trend changed to plots that portrayed angry young man’s fight against the injustices of the society. Laced under different plots, it was ‘David vs Goliath’ fight; the audience enjoyed watching on the screen.
The new recipe in nineties that’s struck upon is to ‘sex up the script,’ pump up with item songs of semi clad women; throw up some ‘Baywatch’ shots on the road, make the female dress and undress, over doze it with heavy necking scenes, bottle it up in different plots… and there you go…. a sizzler is produced.
Act two; run the promos of the dare-bare acts on the TV and watch the rush to the talkies that would keep the cash register ringing. The sheer number of such movies suggests that every one in Bollywood is making money selling the hot formula of ‘sexed-up’ scripts. Here, we look at the plots of some of the movies that are made in recent past.
Raaz (secret): A supernatural thriller that takes the viewer through a series of suspenseful occurrences. It reflects a fascination for Hitchcock's classic thrillers ‘Rear Window’ and ‘Psycho’ but at the same time chauvinistically uses sex to prop up the horror aspect.
Paap (sin): When the religious head from a serene monastery gets a vision about his Master's reincarnation as a six-year-old boy in India’s capital, a young girl is sent to New Delhi fetch the child. But the boy gets involved in a murder and a righteous police officer bails him out. In this absorbing drama the small town girl is drawn into a ‘sinful’ relation with the police officer.
Khwahish (desire): The hero is a super-rich brat and heroine is the daughter of a chicken farmer. The film starts with an unusual scene where the boy meets the girl in a shop and has an argument over buying the same stuff. After they are through with their shopping, they realize that there is more to their relationship than fighting over a silly stuff. Love happens, and so do 17 kisses. Yes, some one counted it. Sex never goes unaccounted?
Double-Cross: The wife pushes her husband to sleep with women and act in blue films. She forces her husband to be a gigolo. The husband becomes a hustler since he has to support his wife and also his family back home in Punjab. The husband falls in love with a stripper, who subsequently beds one of her clients to free her lover from the clutches of his wife. Now, that’s what is called double crossed, isn’t it?
Girlfriend: It’s about two lesbian females who are friends and have separate boy friends. However, the boys are upset the female are not responsive to opposite sex. Much to their chagrin they discover their Girlfriends are lesbian. There is no denying the fact that this movie has taken the theme of lesbianism out of the closet but in attempting to do so the script has been sexed up so much that vulgarity and sleaze trickles from top.
Souten (other woman): The flick once again tackles the piping hot story of ‘the other woman.’ In this case, the guy first gets into a physical relationship with a middle-aged woman and then falls in love with her stepdaughter. In the end both females fight it out for the same guy. What more sexed up script can be than this.
Naughty Boy: The movie depicts a father-son duo trying to woo the same girl. The film created much stir, what with a pre release MMS controversy showing the female lead in some real ‘sexed up’ poses.
Madhubala: It’s a story of an aspiring actress who wants to make it big in Bollywood. With the help of her friend she meets an award-winning director who indulge in physical relationship with her promising heroine's role and even marriage. The dare-bare act of the aspiring actress is all ‘sexed up.’
Tauba Tauba: It deals with the subject of voyeurism and revolves around two young boys who derive sexual gratification from observing the naked bodies of girls, especially from secret vantage points. But, there’s also a revenge plot here, minus the blood and gore.
Murder: It’s a murder mystery where on a rainy day, the heroine bumps into an old buddy and this brings back memories of the past as both had been in love before they got married. The two get into an extra marital fling and the plot gets all ‘sexed up.’ This movie struck gold.
Zeher (poison): Understandably the makers of ‘Murder’ wanted to repeat its success story and made ‘Zeher’ with enough sex to spice up the narrative. No wonder the movie is all about extra-marital affairs and deceit with higher dose on the sex count.
Hawas (lust): Extra-marital affairs and marital discord seem to be the most preferred flavor of these sex flicks. ‘Hawas’ peeps into the bedroom of three individuals and offers a colorful story laced up with generous dose of sex.
Aksar (often): If ‘Murder’ Zeher and ‘Hawas’ spoke of married women cheating on their husbands behind their back, ‘Aksar’ goes a step further where the wife blatantly cheats on her husband right in front of his eyes. Isn’t that a great recipe for ‘sexed up’ flick?
Oops: That’s the name of the movie that delves into the subject of loneliness and frustrations of an ageing woman. In spite of the lack of any serious demand for sex in its storyline, a good dose of it is added to spice up the plot. What could have been a nice narrative like ‘36 Chowrangie lane’ ends up being a C grade movie.
Chameli: A frustrated executive, a prostitute and a stormy night, isn’t it a perfect recipe for a sexed up plot. ‘Chameli’ is a one-night stand story that relies more on ‘sexed up’ antics than on the subject of stress and frustration of modern days executives face in the daily course of work.
Ab Bas (that’s enough): Flicked from the J-Lo starrer ‘Enough’, the movie is about a wife who walks out of her marriage and when pushed against the wall, decides to take matters into her own hands.
Inteqam (revenge): This again is inspired from ‘Basic Instinct’ and the result is ‘Inteqam- The perfect game’. As is evident from the plot the protagonists, do a fair job of ’sexing up’ to steam up the frontbenchers.
Tum (You): A 'Summer of 42' kind of film with the theme of a young man falling in love with an elderly woman but as the plot thickens, it changes gears and deviates into just another ‘sexed up’ thriller.
Ek Chhoti Si Love Story: A story of a young boy’s fascination for an elder woman. The film’s narrative is intended at creating a drama that builds up the expectation for a sensitive film.
However, the sensitivity part is lost in between and commercial leverage sex up the proceedings.
One can go on adding the list of such movies but then one also needs to ponder where this gamut of sex, seduction and sleaze is heading for?
Sociologically speaking a large section of male population remains single for long time and forced to suppress their baser instincts for economic and social reasons. Such movies cater to these people who come to the talkies to douse their flames.
The other reason for mushrooming of such movies is ride on the wave of the economic liberalization of the country. These movies are mirror images of a society that’s moving at a breath neck speed in the wake of liberalization. To many who have found some comfort level in the society such movies are pleasant past time. To others who are unable to catch up the real fun watching such movies is pleasure for the eyes.
With filmmakers striking gold making movies with sexed up scripts this theme is going to be dominant till it run its course. However, like other themes this too is a passing phenomenon until Bollywood discover another recipe to dump such scripts.
The bottom line in the making of such movies is; the show must go on for those who cry Dil mange more!
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai, India. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org