Kangana Ranaut’s bath-tub scene is made into a controversy of sorts. Censors should pass it with an ‘A’ certificate. Heroines in bikinis make news, Emraan Hashmi’s lips are always twitching for a kiss.
Magazine cover shoots get bolder. Calendars get lustier. But which of our movies have really treated sex and sensuality with some sense and sensibility? Most of them are golden oldies which must be seen on the big screen, DVD, VCD, whatever..but a must they are:
If sex is on the mind, then the best films would be:
Guide (Vijay Anand): It dealt with a relationship between a man and a woman — not married to each other— with adult sensuality. Raju Guide and Rosie live together and their love is certainly not platonic. A man wouldn’t sing Din dhal jaaye with such pain and a woman wouldn’t sing Saiyan beimaan with such grief, if all they were sharing was a bank account.
Amar Prem (Shakti Samanta): Sharmila Tagore played an abandoned woman sold to a kotha; Rajesh Khanna played a rich and deeply lonely man, who finds solace with the reluctant whore. Did they actually go to bed? Hardly matters! The two didn’t even have to touch each other. The erotic charge was there to see.
Phool aur Patthar (O P Ralhan): Dharmendra took his shirt off and the screen practically crackled with his raw sex appeal. The rumour that he and Meena Kumari were having a real-life affair added fuel to the fire.
There was erotica in Madhubala’s eyes in Accha ji main haari (Kaala Pani), in Waheeda Rehman’s gait in Jaane kye tune kahi (Pyaasa), in Vyjayanthimala’s face in Amrapali, Mumtaz’s upturned nose in Apna Desh, and Meena Kumari’s feet in Pakeezah; in Shammi Kapoor’s swaying neck, Dev Anand’s ‘puffed’ hairstyle, Shashi Kapoor’s crooked smile. Mallika Sherawat and Salman Khan have a lot to learn!
Utsav: Girish Karnad’s free adaptation of the Sanskrit classic Mrichchakatika sets it safely centuries away in the comfort zone of Indians who are apparently wary of contemporary eroticism.
Vatsayana, researching material for his Kama Sutra, adds a satiric zest to the ornate recreation of an age where Rekha breathes the mood of erotic sculpture.
Asoka: The once upon a time theme works again. Santosh Sivan’s stunning cinematography makes the warrior prince Asoka a seeker of beauty and Kaurawaki’s wood nymph is passion incarnate – be it as a fiery fighter or possessed lover.
Daaera: Amol Palekar’s film made it to the 10 best list of Time magazine for its complex narrative. A performing artiste, playing women’s roles, teaches a girl the meaning of love and passion. The subtext of gender politics did not detract from the eroticism.
Hindi films in general shy away from full-blown eroticism, content with a few sensuous passages at best — the celebrated scene with the feather in Mughal-e- Azam; the first view of Chhoti Bahu in Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam followed by the Piya aiso jiya mein samaye gayo re song in which Meena Kumari adorns herself for her husband; sublimated passion of Pyasa’s Aaj sajan mohe ang lagale; a couple of songs in Sagar.