Mr Minister, can you reign in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya?

  • Bobby John Varkey, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 03, 2014 15:20 IST

Britain’s largest-selling gadgets magazine, Stuff, will drop semi-naked girls on its cover from the August issue. Why? Because the marketing department of the magazine, which sells more than 77,000 copies, thinks its readership has grown out of the “girls with gadgets” gimmick. In other words, Stuff’s now decided to sell its copies on the strength of what its pages have to offer, and not lure readers with some puerile stuff.

Read Girls visiting pubs in short dresses against culture, says Goa minister

The point is: are we ready yet to be considered grown up in India? If not magazines (we don’t have too many such saucy ones), why do our filmmakers think the Indian audience is still stuck in the dark ages when such stuff could sell? For instance, we have a problem with the Varun Dhawan-Alia Bhatt starrer Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya, to be released on July 11. In one of its trailers, we see the dulhaniya holding forth on “how hot she is” to a group of her guy friends. After a couple of love-making scenes (presumably mandatory in all films these days), with a few smooches thrown in for effect, we see the girl competing with the guy on who can drink more beer. The final score? The girl = a few bottles; the boy = not even half of his first one!

Come on Karan Johar… can we please get over this “sexual objectification” in 2014? It is so 1999.

Never mind what our politicians say about girls wearing short skirts to pubs or their insistence on making their primitive views on premarital sex reach the masses. The problem with such films is the premise they start with: they dictate how our women and girls can be viewed, regarded, and used. Wilful suspension of disbelief, the much-abused escape route of filmmakers, doesn’t always work because the import of such scenes or portrayals are not limited to the actors or what you see on the screen. Men start objectifying women simply because we live in a world where such images are considered normal, accepted and are widespread.

This degrading filth is thrust upon our consciousness, repeatedly, because filmmakers say this is what the audience want (tell them no and they’ll flaunt the box office collections of a few hundred crores). Our filmmakers know they need such characters, and scenes, not to increase the box office collections, but to have a collection at all in the first place. In the process, who cares if a large chunk of teenagers, who may not go to the theatre to watch the film but cannot escape the trailers on TV, are alienated from the real world? They make their own assumptions, which are often not in sync with what the reality is.

Of course, it is also an affront on our intelligence because our films, and politicians, are singularly responsible for making this phenomenon of sexual objectification more rampant in popular culture than ever before. What we deem now as damaging and immoral was once made popular by us. But Indian audience has come out of it; it’s time now for our filmmakers to step into the real world. We need to change this public image, which, in many ways, it is controlled by us. For long, it’s been drilled into us that we have no control over fads or fashions, political stances, or even morality. We are misguided, and wrong.

Do you think we have the power to stop this? Tell us how can we make a difference.

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