‘Flesh Flashing’ in India Films

Bollywood has always been rated as one of the most highly regarded film industries all over the world. But it has not been without its share of controversies. The shadows of nudity and obscenity, for instance, have played and are continuing to play an even bigger critical role in the Indian film industry. Many critics feel that in present times especially, the increasing norms of nudity in the industry are posing a threat to the culture and society of our country. They feel India has its own distinctive culture and sexual norms and they should be taken into serious consideration and followed without going beyond the boundaries of India’s ageless, celebrated culture. It is an established fact that films have a profound impact on society and influence emotions, attitudes and ways of living in a big way. The excessive portrayal of sex, nudity and obscenity in the films has also raised concerns on the effects of such portrayals on the youth and the society in totality.
Nudity is being picturised in films on an increasing scale in recent years. A trend has in fact, become prevalent in the industry wherein the actresses are much more comfortable showing themselves off with minimum or very revealing clothes covering their bodies. Actresses like Vidya Balan, Malaika Arora Khan, Mallika Sherawat, Bipasha Basu, Rakhi Sawant et al, have created their own ‘benchmarks’ in this ‘exposure field’. Their ‘tantalising’ appearances in films have raised a lot of questions and have led to a lot of discussion amongst the public on the desirability of too many ‘bare flesh’ scenes. The upcoming movie of Rani Mukherjee “Aaiyaa” has also come under scrutiny specifically for the item number performed by Rani Mukherjee.
Some people maintain, “So what if the actresses are not afraid of showing off their natural beauty”. But the main question is the extent to which such shows can be tolerated. What is the level of nudity that can be tolerated and picturised in Indian films? Has nudity become an additional booster and a necessary adjunct which adds to their performances? Do the viewers prefer actresses who qualify for the description of ‘sirens’ ? If the last two are correct, then the future of Indian film industry is in trouble and a quick remedy is urgently required to ‘cap’ the situation.
There is another important question. Have actresses made up their minds that they are ready to stoop to any unacceptable level in a film and are satisfied even if they are seen being used as an item for gratification of animal lust ? It is very obvious that this aspect brings in more money for the filmmakers and pulls the crowd to cinema halls and multiplexes. But it should also be taken into consideration that nude or revealing picturisations should at least be of a level at which all classes of people can watch the film together. Discerning viewers feel that if nude or revealing picturisations are done tastefully, keeping in mind the viewers and their culture, only then will the future of Indian cinema be secure in terms of quality and tasteful content.
Self-regulation by film makers is the need of the hour to arrest the growing trend of flesh flashing in Indian films. It should be kept in mind that at least a limit should be kept to this nudity and it should not be used if it is not relevant to the unfolding of the story. Moreover, the picturisation should be done in an ethical manner and Indian culture should be constantly kept in mind. Firm, strict and sincere implementation of relevant laws would obviously help curb excesses. Otherwise, we risk being blamed by posterity for passing on lewdness and licentiousness of the meanest order instead of fascinating aspects of our rich traditions. The responsibility and the role of the Film Censor Board thus becomes a major regulating factor.

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