Showing posts with label Sexuality in Bollywood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sexuality in Bollywood. Show all posts

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sexuality in Bollywood: Treatment of Homosexuals and Transvestites Part Two

Isha Koppikar and Amrita Arora "Girlfriend" Bollywood lesbians gay
Isha Koppikar and Amrita Arora "Girlfriend"
The mature stance which My Brother…Nikhil and Fashion occupied, starkly contrasts Girlfriend [2004]. This film shines the spotlight on lesbianism and has one of the leading ladies, Isha Koppikar, playing the role of a lesbian. The movie represents Koppikar as an insane, violent lesbian fueled by her jealousy towards the male who has suddenly whisked away the woman she lusts after, Amrita Arora. The ground of this movie is shaky. Koppikar’s reason for despising men is a result of her father’s physical abuse on her mother.

Even though Koppikar and Arora’s relationship is blatantly homosexual in nature, Arora seems totally unaware of this. During her explanation to her boyfriend, Aashish Chaudhary, Arora innocently explains that she is not considered a lesbian, because alcohol impaired her judgment the night she had intimate relations with Koppikar. Her boyfriend readily accepts this explanation as legitimate. As her aggression towards men soars, Koppikar becomes more mannish. She cuts her hair into a short boy cut, stereotypical to lesbians, and dresses more boyish. Her unstable mental balance and her attachment to Arora, causes her to attack and eventually try to kill Chaudhary. Girlfriend inaccurately illustrates lesbians as women possessing masculine traits in its unhinged plot. It makes no attempt to sensibly approach lesbianism, but just offers to entertainment to the audiences with a bizarre story-line. 

funny Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham "Dostana" Bollywood GIF Gay Homosexual
Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham "Dostana"
Another entertainer of recent times, Dostana [2008], pokes fun at homosexuality by exaggerating the feminine qualities of gay men. This big budget film focuses on the two leading men, Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham, who pretend to be gay to rent an rooms in an apartment with their mutual love interest, Priyanka Chopra. As straight men in the movie and real life, Bachchan and Abraham’s representation of homosexual males is over the top. Their girlish behavior in the scene where Bachchan and Abraham explain how they met has the ability to offend the gay community repeatedly.

Stereotypes are stressed with in this scene. When they meet, Bachchan is seen a flamboyant outfit topped with a rainbow scarf and Abraham is dressed with a see through shirt accessorized with a spiked collar. There are sailor outfits, flowers, and joyous skipping in the later moments of the scene. True gay characters also exist in this film, but these characters are extremely feminine as well. Tarun Mansukhani, the director of Dostana, says “ ‘If you scream from the rooftops in favour of gay issues, it will not work. Give it some time. Let us begin by having some fun with it.The time will come when the nation would open up and we'd see their true and sensitive representation in commercial cinema.’”.
Dunno Y Na Jaane Kyun Gay Males Bollywood Homosexual
Donno Y Na Jaane Kyun

By experimenting with homosexuality and humor in his film, Manusukhani is softening the Indian audiences to the representation of homosexuality in Bollywood film. In the future, this could give other filmmakers a chance to explore homosexuality as a central plot, perhaps more thoughtfully, like My Brother…Nikhil. Nevertheless, the fact a mainstream, blockbuster movie possesses principal, seemingly gay characters is confirmation that India is becoming more receptive of movies that represent different sexual orientations.

Read Part One Here: Sexuality in Bollywood: Treatment of Homosexuals and Transvestites Part One

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Humshakals: Music Review

humshakals men cross dressing transvestites saif ali khan ritesh
The Men of Humshakals in 3
different roles

Starring: Ritesh Deshmukh, Saif Ali Khan, Ram Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Esha Gupta
Music Composer: Himesh Reshammiya 

Similar revolting soundtracks like Humshakals were once heard from our composer Himesh Reshammiya when he went off the deep end in the mid 2000's. He practically sung every song and starred in many flop films. Although recently he somewhat has had success with his film The Expose, Reshammiya seems to be trying too hard again. At least he is not dominating this whole soundtrack. In Bollywood, excluding Salman Khan Ajay Devgan, or Akshay Kumar films, music for comedies are not held to a standard of any regular soundtrack due to the fact that they are usually ridiculous. With an experienced composer with tons of hits and successes like Reshammiya and mid-grade actors like Saif Ali Khan and Ritesh Deskmukh, the bar for Humshakals is very low.

The Humshakals album begins its continuous up tempo soundtrack with Caller Tune by Neeraj Sridhar and Neeti Mohan. This duet is obviously influenced by Reggaeton songs which attributes for its catchy beat. It is heavy with English phases with forced rhymes like tune and moon and random violins. However, Mohan and Sridhar are perfect for this song. The hook "Caller Tune Baby" simultaneously annoys and snags. This is the kind of a song a listener would love to hate. By far the best song on the album. 4/5

Surprise surprise, there is an item number in Humshakals. With the item number queen, Bipasha Basu starring we hear phrases like Billo Rani in Piya Ke Bazaar Mein. It is not the traditional item song, but it is not unordinary. Palak Muchhal's voice is a little timid for this three woman item number, and Reshammiya's weak voice doesn't add much to it either. A little folksy and not very catchy, this item number will not please the masses. 3/5
Piya Ki Bazar Mein Still - Bipasha Basu and Esha Gupta sexy item number
Piya Ke Bazaar Mein Still

Just Look Into My Eyes gives Humshakals a peppy upbeat feel. Ash King and Neeti Mohan are the perfect choice infuse youth into this album. Perhaps the lyrics a little basic, but if you don't pay attention to exactly what they are saying and listen to the electropop beat, it is not too bad. Although verging on a cheesy teen song, this is levels above the other songs on the album, and does not fit in at all in terms of melody. 4/5

Barbaad Raat combines the female vocalists, Shalmali Kholgade and Sanam Puri in this R&B Hip Hop number. Following the trend of the other songs, this one also uses English in pieces. The clapping and trumpets add an interesting twist, but the "Ooo woaao' pieces don't really do much to really hook you fully to the song. 3.5/5

funny, Ram Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, and Ritesh Deshmukh, cross dressing, women
The ladies are out for a swim
I'm sure everyone was wondering where Himesh Reshammiya's solo song was coming in Humshakals. It is humorously titled Hum Pagal Nahin Hai, and can be taken with dual meaning. Wondering if Reshammiya thinks he's crazy or as shown on silver screen. We see rather interesting rhymes again, such as Obama and DeGama. This song isn't as headache inducing as the ones before it, but is pretty boring and becomes nasal towards the end. 3/5

What would a comedy soundtrack be without Mika Singh? Mika pairs teams up with Palak Muchhal for Khol De Dil Ki Khidi which somehow manages to fuse a Punjabi rhythm with an exasperating country banjo. This song annoys is unforgivable ways that the Caller Tune didn't have. There are so many things going on in this song it is hard to pinpoint what is really happening. This song will, of course, add to the comedy of the movie but it is annoying for the listener to listen for their own enjoyment. 3/5

In the end, Humshakals offers a lively, yet irritating music. This soundtrack somehow manages to exceed expectations, slightly. It is a pretty good effort on Reshammiya's part, although the songs in which his vocals are incorporated in are by far the worst.

My Picks: Caller Tune, Just Look Into My Eyes

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sexuality in Bollywood: Treatment of Homosexuals and Transvestites Part One

A skewed onscreen representation of homosexuals has been recurrent in both old and new Bollywood films. Older cinema’s treatment of these forms is harsher, since they likely will demean these forms of sexuality for their own purposes. Although not thoughtfully done, the fact that Murder 2 did not implement transvestites as an element of comedy points to a more developed handling of different sexualities. Other films have been increasingly shedding light on the struggles that homosexual men and women are currently facing in India.

In the past, the main purpose of any scene featuring transvestites was primarily comedy. Transvestites maintain open sexual expression in movies and are allowed more explicit dialogue than any other character. Donned in garish outfits, they are overly animated as they outwardly vocalize their desire for men in pitchy voices. Transvestites are mostly utilized in tense scenes.. In Anjaam[1994], Johnny Lever performs the role of a transvestite to provide comic relief. This movie revolves around Madhuri Dixit who is taking revenge on a man and all those who aided him in the destruction of her family. Among this madness, Lever, the capricious leader of two other transvestites, is seen onscreen committing petty crimes and flirting with male police officers to dodge jail time. Lever and his crew are able relieve much of pressure from the terrible the series of deaths occurring by bursting in with their amusing stunts.

Homosexuality in its pure form, without the shelter of transvestites, is a touchier subject to the Indian audience. Nevertheless, Bollywood has been slowly opening up to the gay community in their films with both a mature and immature views. While treatment concerning transvestites is almost always insensitive, films concerning homosexuality alone are sometimes handled with more caution. Films like, My Brother…Nikhil [2005] and Fashion [2008], break away from the stereotypes from the gay community with hard hitting, meaningful messages. My Brother...Nikhil addresses the topic of AIDS in the gay community. Sanjay Suri and Purab Kohli play the roles of the gay couple, but Suri is the one that contracts HIV. Suri’s homosexuality and disease makes his familiy shun him and throw him out of their home. He is also kicked off of the swimming team because of the illness. This film focuses intelligently on the issue of AIDS in the gay community.

Similarly, Fashion deals with the struggles of coming out of the closet. Fashion has three leading ladies: Priyanka Chopra, Kangna Ranaut, and Mugdha Godse.  Godse has a marriage arrangement with Samir Soni, a closeted gay man. As an older unmarried man, Soni begins to face skepticism about his sexual orientation. He attempts to dispel these rumors with his marriage to Godse. Although Godse and Soni’s story is a subplot, it still is critical of the rejection of homosexuals in Indian community.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Sexuality In Bollywood: Evolution of Female Desire- Part Two [The Bhatts]

Randeep Hooda Sunny Leone Jism 2 Bollywood Sexuality
Sunny Leone and Randeep Hooda in Jism 2
Similar to the directors of The Dirty Picture, filmmakers like Pooja Bhatt, and her father, Mahesh Bhatt, have tackled a dark side of sexual desire, touching on the bodily needs of both hero and the heroine. Pooja and Mahesh Bhatt try to experiment with the heroine’s sexuality in Jism 2 [2012], with the introduction of the Indo-American pornographic star, Sunny Leone. In Jism 2, Leone seduces an assassin to retrieve important information for the police. The assassin and a police officer both play her love interests in this movie. Leone is able to believably express herself as a strong heroine with her own desires onscreen, because of her previous work in pornography.   Jism 2 creates aesthetic view of sexuality when new talent combines with the fresh, natural scenery of Sri Lanka. Stunning cinematography and careful boundaries to prevent intimate scenes from becoming crude set this film apart from other Bollywood movies related to this genre. Leone plays a character that is in complete jurisdiction of her own sexuality and is able to manipulate it in whatever way she wishes.  In Jism 2, Leone is able to illustrate the shift to a more mature sexual identity of Bollywood heroines.
Emraan Hashmi Jacqueline Fernandez Murder 2 Bollywood Sexuality
Emraan Hashmi and Jacqueline Fernandez
Murder 2
Murder 2 [2011], another Bhatt production, has a more multifaceted view on sexuality. This film not only addresses escalated carnal cravings, but also focuses transvestites, and prostitution.. Even though these different sexual elements are explored in various ways, they end up intertwined with each other in the end. In Murder 2, Emraan Hashmi plays a former cop who is sent to investigate the disappearance of prostitutes in the area. Although Hashmi and his girlfriend, Jacqueline Fernanadez, engage in a few rounds of sexual intercourse in the film, he remains emotionally detached from her due to personal reasons. She, on the other hand, tries desperately to expand their physical bond with concepts of romantic love.  On the opposing side is Prashant Naryanan, a transvestite who brutally murders prostitutes. Driven by his uncontrollable physical desire, he decides to become a eunuch. The manner which Murder 2 presents sexuality on three different platforms is an unusual, but daring feat for a director. There is a thoughtful depiction of human trafficking, and an attempt to realistically portray the emotional and carnal needs of men and women in contemporary relationships. However, the sexuality of the transvestites is not as tastefully explored as others.  Narayanan is portrayed as a psychotic killer who has deviated from accepted social norms. Meanwhile, his transvestite friend’s character is illustrated as crooked and overly dramatic.

Check Out These Articles From Sexuality in Bollywood Series:
Sexuality in Bollywood: Evolution of Female Desire Part 1
Sexuality In Bollywood: Return of the Vamps


Article ©BollywoodBegum2013. All  Rights Reserved. 
BollywoodBegum claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sexuality in Bollywood: Evolution of Female Desire Part One

Indian Sexuality Zeenat Aman is Satyam Shivam Sundaram
Zeenat Aman in Satyam Shivam Sundaram
As vamps dissolved in popular cinema, the lead heroines’ sexual identity was given more space to evolve. The heroine was stuck in between being modest and being sensual. Essentially, she had to be sensual enough to lure the audience in, but not too sensual or she would seem to be an unfit companion for the honorable hero.  Zeenat Aman beautifully expresses the duality of modesty and sensuality in her role in Satyam Shivam Sundaram [1978]. Aman is a quiet village girl that although initially rejected by her husband, remains a dutiful wife. As the daughter of a Hindu priest, she is also depicted as a virtuous woman who spends a majority of her time visiting and maintaining a Hindu temple. However, her religious devotion is given dichotomy of both virtue and sensuality.  Aman also presents her sexuality in her general appearance. She wears traditional saris, but wears no blouse underneath, leaving her breasts visibly veiled under thin cloth. However, Aman’s  religious, obedient wife persona, balances her refined sensuality. This heightened sense of the heroine’s sexuality has been taken further in modern Bollywood movies.

Indian Sexuality Zeenat Aman is Satyam Shivam Sundaram GIF Bollywood BlouseCompared to modern Bollywood films, Zeenat Aman’s sexuality in Satyam Shivam Sundaram seems subtle. It has been more acceptable for leading ladies to both express their carnal desires very openly. Unlike Aman, they were no longer mainly objects of sexual desire, but possessed a sexual desire of their own. This sexual expression of the heroine has been tactfully addressed in some contemporary films, such as blockbuster The Dirty Picture [2011]. The biopic starring Vidya Balan is inspired by the life of the infamous South Indian sex symbol, Silk Smitha. This audacious poster matched the audacity exhibited in the film itself.

The Dirty Picture has dual layers of sexuality. The first layer is her sensual image in her films, and the second layer is her personal relationships with men in the film industry. Balan has romantic relationships with all three men, and intimate relationships with two of the three. She jumps from one brother’s bed to the next, hoping to find love and acceptance. Sexuality both fueled and destroyed Balans’s career in The Dirty Picture. She is in continual pursuit to find her soulmate, but all she receives is lustful men who believe she is like racy image she portrays onscreen. By the time she realizes she loves Hashmi, a man who appreciate her for mind and body, it is too late. Even though this film is not abundant with much vivid sexual imagery, it achieves an intelligent portrayal of the pursuit of love and happiness.
Vidya Balan "The Dirty Picture" GIF Emraan Hashmi Bollywood Sexuality
Vidya Balan "The Dirty Picture"

Recent films, like The Dirty Picture and Jism,  have been able to express females as not only  being an object of desire, but having their own desires and acting upon them. Filmmakers like Mahesh and Pooja Bhatt have included several elements of female sexuality in their films, that will be discussed in my later article. What do you think of Bollywood's evolution of female desire? Do you think that Bollywood is becoming too westernized, or is Bollywood evolving as society becomes more modernized and submits to the changing social norms?

Look for more of Sexuality in Bollywood Series in the Future.

Article ©BollywoodBegum2013. All  Rights Reserved. 
BollywoodBegum claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sexuality in Bollywood: Return of the Vamps

Bipasha Beedi Item Number Bollywood Sexuality Basu Dance
Bipashu Basu "Beedi"
Sexuality always resonated with the vamp in older Bollywood films, rather than the heroine. Since the heroine had limited displays of blatant sexuality, the vamp's purpose was to be the essence of sexuality for the film. However, as females began to posses more sexuality during the 90's and early 2000's, vamps retreated in the back, and there was significant decrease in item numbers. Recently, there has been a reemergence of the vamp in new item numbers and plot lines,when sexual power has been revoked heroine, such as Dabangg and Omkara.

In older Bollywood films, vamps were typically featured briefly  in item numbers where they exposed  quite a bit of their bodies while dancing suggestively to upbeat melodies. These dances were performed classically in the nightclub, like “Piya tu Ab to Aaja” from Caravan [1971], or in a rural setting, like “Mehbooba Mehbooba” from Sholay [1975]. So many popular songs have used the vamp’s sexuality as apparatus to distract to the villains. In Sholay, Helen’s racy dance serves as a diversion to Amjad Khan and his circle of bandits. Khan, a very witty criminal, is momentarily diverted from his path of terror as he watches as scantily dressed Helen dances around a fire before him.
Helen Vamp Caravan Piya Tu Ab To Bollywood Sexuality
Helen in "Piya Tu Ab To Aaja"
Additionally, the vamp rarely plays a significant role in the film. If her role goes beyond her appearance in a song, she is portrayed as a brash woman of loose moral. Like Helen and Aruna Irani in Caravan, the vamp will often pose as competition for the heroine or create additional obstacles in the film. There is a clear distinction between the heroines and the the vamp. The dominance of the heroine over vamp is seen in several films. In Caravan, Aruna Irani, the vamp, relentlessly pursues the hero, Jeetendra. In many songs, Irani is seen dancing aggressively in skin exposing clothing to seduce Jeetendra. Despite her efforts and excessive skin show, Jeetendra is more interested Asha Parekh, the demure, modestly dressed heroine.
Helen, the other dancer in Caravan, falls into another stereotype of the vamp. Helen is having an affair with the Parekh’s husband, and plans to kill her to steal the family fortune. The beginning of “Piya Tu Ab To Aaja”, features Helen dancing in a short red dress desperately pleading for her lover to come to her.  In this particular song, a world of desire is constructed by the suggestive lyrics and male and female panting, paired with Helen’s erotic dancing. Towards the end when Helen’s dress gets caught on a nail, she strips down to a tiny gold sequined top and a mini-skirt with a slit down the side. The closure of the song is especially laden in sexuality when the lights dim and she crouches with a male in a small cage.

In very recent times, the vamp has reemerged to some extent, after somewhat disappearing in the 90's and early 2000's. Trailer after trailer combines with over-sexualized item numbers, featuring ladies’ whose only purpose is to provide pleasure to the male audience. In these movies, if a woman’s character’s existence is extended beyond the number, her role is along the lines as vamps from older cinema.  Songs such as the immensely popular, “Munni Badnaam Hui” from Dabangg [2010], and "Beedi" from Omkara boast women dancing for dozens of drunken men. Parallels can be drawn to these songs and songs from the past dominated by vamps like, “Mehbooba Mehbooba” from Sholay [1975], mentioned earlier. 

Malaika Arora Khan "Munni Badnaam Hui" GIF bollywood sexuality
Malaika Arora Khan "Munni Badnaam Hui"
In Dabangg, Malaika Arora Khan, Munni, performs for the villain and his minions. Similar to a vamp, Khan is seen vigorously shaking her hips and thrusting her chest forward as she mingles among the men. In contrast to Khan, the heroine, Sonakshi Sinha, is minimal in the sensuous thrills she delivers for the male audience. Thus, Sinha is able to attract the hero due to her coy character. Munni’s function in Dabangg is analogous to Helen’s function in Sholay, because they both compensated for the sensuality that the leading ladies did not provide.

It seems as if some Bollywood movies are going backwards. Item songs may have mass appeal, but Bollywood should be able to revert to the fusion of the heroine with the vamp, and have heroines doing the item number instead of a random actress who are inessential to the film itself. With time, Bollywood may be able to find a proper footing in depicting female sexuality.

Look for more of Sexuality in Bollywood Series in the Future.

Article ©BollywoodBegum2013. All Rights Reserved.

BollywoodBegum claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.