Saawariya to Bajirao Mastani: Is Bollywood objectifying men now?

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 20, 2015 16:09 IST
Ranveer Singh has an athletic body. (YouTube)

Bajirao Mastani showcases not just the love story of Peshwa Bajirao I, but also male lead Ranveer’s body through the passionate eyes of Mastani .

Well, we have always had the Salman Khans in Bollywood who cannot complete a movie without taking off their shirts and flaunting their perfectly-built bods. But in the male-dominated film industry, the male skin show normally began and ended there.

It was not until Sanjay Leela Bhansali decided to launch Ranbir Kapoor that the female gaze actually found space on the silver screen. With Ranbir’s towel dance in Saawariya the filmmaker brought the female gaze into vogue. Even Om Shanti Om, which released alongside Saawariya in 2007, banked heavily on the eight-pack abs that Shah Rukh Khan had worked hard for, and the ‘item song’ Dard-e-disco was lapped up with much love.

There now seems to be a role reversal with films now objectifying men instead of women (not necessarily commended). But leaving aside the debate of what is right and what is not, we take a look at films where the female gaze has had prominence.

Bajirao Mastani
Bhansali makes his camera caress Ranveer’s body in his latest film starring Deepika Padukone. Through his camera, Mastani’s eyes wander all over the perfect bod of the warrior, showcasing a well-chiselled Ranveer for the audience.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has always presented his lead actors in a glamorous way. (YouTube)

Goliyon Ki Rasleela -Ramleela
In their previous film together, both Ranveer and Deepika had ample scenes where their drool-worthy bodies were on display for the fans.

Deepika and Ranveer sizzled on the screen in Ramleela. (YouTube)

Rang Rasiya
In this aesthetically shot film on the life and times of painter Raja Ravi Varma, director Ketan Mehta beautifully showcased not just the body of his heroine Nandita Sen but also that of the male lead Randeep Hooda.

Randeep Hooda played Raja Ravi Varma in Rang Rasiya. (YouTube)

Ranbir Kapoor’s debut film was much-talked about, mostly for the towel-dance scene (he almost dropped the towel) which showcased his bod through Bhansali’s camera.

Ranbir Kapoor created quite a sensation in his debut film Saawariya. (Twitter)

Bang Bang
No list of hot male bodies in Bollywood is complete without the mention of our own Greek god, Hrithik Roshan. In his recent film opposite Katrina Kaif, much like in most of his earlier ones, his chiselled body was one of the major attractions.

Bang Bang was an exhibition of Hrithik and Katrina’s toned bodies. (YouTube)

Special mention: Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt
They may have ruled the industry when the female gaze was not a factor, but Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt deserve a special mention here for starting the trend of six-pack abs and shirtless scenes. From Khalnayak to Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya, the aim was not female gaze but to highlight the physical power these stars displayed. Nonetheless, their shirtless bodies made for major female attraction and Salman went on to repeat himself with films like Kick and Dabangg.

Read: Bajirao Mastani review

Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt were the pioneers of bodybuilding in Bollywood. (YouTube)

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