Sexual Taboos in Indian Films

How many times you have shied away from the open scenes in movies like Omkara or Mixed Doubles? How many times have you criticized the so-called Emraan Hashmi scenes in movies like Murder, Gangster, Zeher etc.? Do you call some good Indian movies like Nishabd vulgar only due to the discussion of those private themes? Are you calling some movies filthy only due to some nude posters? Well, this is time for you to analyze the sexual taboos in Indian films.


In Indian films and television there is a considerable taboo related to the concept of sexuality. Kissing scenes and even some music lyrics are totally considered to be obscene to the Indian community. Here I remember the time when the ever-famous Indian movies Roja and Bombay got released. Many parents closed their television or stereos with the start of the songs "Rukkumaniye..." and " Ek Ho Gaya Humma Tum..." The themes of extra marital affairs, pre-marital sex, lesbian relationships and women's interest in physical relationships remained unethical themes in Indian movies till mid 90s.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Indian films are more uncomfortable while they bring the private scenes out of closet. Sexual taboos in Indian films are equally prevalent from the most liberal films of Bollywood to the most conservative films of Kerala. Since films enlighten a large mass of audience, Indian films are supposed to incorporate cultural values of India. However here a major fact has been forgotten that with the growth of globalization the same society will watch art films and foreign films depicting sexuality.


Mira Nair shocked the Indian filmgoers with her Kamasutra in 1997. An open theme from a female director was something unimaginable to Indian film society. There are still ongoing debates about the worth of the theme. However with that open discussion about an Indian film, some brief open scenes started its intrusion to family entertainers. Deepa Mehta's ventures Fire (1996) and recently released Water (2006) are accepted and discussed at the present time without much taboos.


It is necessary to state at this point that we need to show more sizzle on the screen. A well-created movie teaches many undisclosed sexual facts to the closed, hypocritical, orthodox and patriarchal Indian society. Since we are living in constant threat of AIDS, these movies will serve as better vehicles for sex education. Naming a film as filthy or vulgar only due to the mild expose of sexuality is due to the complete lack of knowledge about what constitutes entertainment and creativity. Above all if the theme of the movie is better than the mere depiction of sexuality; the theme will linger into the minds as we step out of the theatre.


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Story first published: Wednesday, April 4, 2007, 17:58 [IST]

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