Mumbai: It may come as a surprise, but Bollywood, which supposedly churns out "wholesome entertainment" for the jumbo Indian family, released the largest number of `adults only` movies last year.
Not only that, when compared to regional film industries, it also showed up the most skewed Adult Viewing-versus-General Viewing ratio: a whopping 63 releases out of the 248 releases were A-rated, 92 were UA-rated and 93 were U-rated movies.
A-rated movies are those cleared by the Censor Board of Film Certification for viewing by people of age 18 and above. They are marked A because of sexual and violent content and explicit language. U-rated movies, on the other hand, are those that can be viewed by the entire family, including kids. UA-rated movies can be seen under parental guidance. "So it does come as a surprise that Bollywood, which supposedly provides wholesome entertainment for the entire family, has released the largest number of adult movies," RTI activist Chetan Kothari, who sourced the information, said.
The entire data of U- and A-rated movies, released across India in various Indian languages in 2008, shows that Bollywood released as many as 63 A movies. The Telugu film industry followed, with 62 movies that could be viewed only by adults. It, however, also released 140 movies that could be viewed by the entire family and 84 UA- rated movies.
The only three other industries that released a double-digit number of adult films were Tamil (37), Kannada (21) and Malayalam (13). But they, too, had a greater percentage of movies that could be viewed by the whole family.
Critically acclaimed film-makers like Vishal Bhardwaj, whose recently released movie `Kaminey` got an A certificate, feels the number of A movies in Bollywood is on the rise because the rating system has not kept up with changing societal values and mores. "Children are getting mature at a very early age. Kids now reach puberty at 11 or 12, and even a younger child can go and surf a site and watch porn. We need to change the rating system, and the number of adult movies will automatically come down when that happens," he says.
Film-makers say that the fact that around 70% of foreign feature films got A certificates showed that the parameters needed to be looked at once again. Information & Broadcasting ministry data shows that 152 of the 217 foreign feature films released last year were given adult ratings. In a strange anomaly, the English version of `Slumdog Millionnaire` this year was A while the Hindi version got a U.
Veteran film-maker Mahesh Bhatt believes that the kind of movies made also reflect changing demographics. "More than 5.72 million Indians are below 25," he says. "The moral and social references of these young people are drastically different from those of preceding generations. The current crop of film-makers now deals with themes like pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, infidelity and homosexuality with ease."