Aamir Khan`s ‘PK’- An overview on nudity in Indian cinema

By Gayatri Sankar | Last Updated: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 16:00

They say India is the land of ‘Kamasutra’ and yet the nation is not open to discussing nudity or sex in the open.

Nudity is a subject that draws severe criticism but it does grab eyeballs at the same time. Unlike films produced in the West, most Indian filmmakers have often refrained from using nudity in films that are of commercial nature. Of course, we have had films like Meera Nair’s ‘Kamasutra’ (though not an Indian film in terms of its production), ‘Mera Naam Joker’ and ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’, which have had frontal or partial nudity. Not all filmmakers are prepared to put nudity into use.

One may call it societal influence and its reception to a subject, something as controversial as this or the willingness to explore it.

The recent poster of the film ‘PK’ featuring industry heavyweight Aamir Khan has drawn massive criticism. The poster in question shows the actor in his birthday suit with just a transistor strategically carried by him to cover his bare essentials.

The poster has indeed landed the actor in a legal mess with advocates filing complaints against the actor and urging courts to book him for such a “scandalous” act.

However, people from the fraternity have embraced the new avatar of the superstar and have been heaping praise on him. But the public at large seems to be in a state of shock, for Aamir has done what people might have never expected from him even in their weirdest of dreams.

A number of other celebrities have been at the receiving end of public ire too. Models Madhu Sapre and Milind Soman had gone full monty for a footwear brand with just a python wrapped around them to cover their modesty. Mamata Kulkerni had posed topless for a magazine, a move which other actresses in the 1990s could never make.

Simi Garewal had showed her posterior, way back in the 1970s in Raj Kapoor’s ‘Mera Naam Joker’. Padmini too performed bold scenes in the film, where she was required to expose her bosom.

Raj Kapoor was one filmmaker from India, who used nudity aesthetically. ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’ is a classic example. The film is a story of a village belle with a partial but permanently bruised face but with a beautiful voice. She is gifted with an hour-glass frame, something that makes an educated man from the city go head-over-heels for her. He sees her enjoying a shower under a waterfall and that’s when he loses his heart to her.

The maverick personality went to explore the beauty of a woman draped in muslin in ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’. The film also had a scene showing actress Mandakini breast-feeding her infant onscreen.

But not all filmmakers have succeeded in following in the footsteps of Raj Kapoor. In the recent past, actors Neil Nitin Mukesh and Rajkummar Rao have also tried their hands at doing nude scenes for their films ‘Jail’ and ‘Shahid’ respectively. Even superstar in the making- Ranbir Kapoor- had least inhibitions baring his butt in the towel-drop-shot in his debut film ‘Saanwariya’

However, nudity as a concept hasn’t been accepted universally. Even in the west, it’s a taboo! Nudists make desperate attempts to make it socially acceptable, but their noise goes unheard.

There is a very thin line between sleaze and sensuality and probably that’s one of the reasons why entertainers avoid using sexually explicit scenes more often in their creations.

Hence, even India (hailed as the land of the Kamasutra), is yet to digest the idea of nudity, which is why bold attempts by the showbiz fraternity often draw public ire. And when it comes to socially conscious and responsible personalities like Aamir Khan, the situation becomes all the more objectionable.

A handful may applaud such portrayals as an act of courage or a piece of art, but the public at large is bound to disown the idea.

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First Published: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 15:45

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