Call it simple commerce or a love for realism, Bollywood has embraced male nudity and with a number of actors shedding the proverbial fig leaf, going full monty is no longer a taboo.
Actor Neil Nitin Mukesh grabbed headlines when he went nude for a scene in Madhur Bhandarkar's upcoming film Jail.
Bhandarkar, who is known for his hard-hitting films, has already experimented with male sexuality in Page-3 and Fashion and with Jail he has gone a step further.
The three-times national award winning director believes that the Indian audiences are mature enough to accept male nudity if shown in an aesthetic manner.
"Why can not a nude scene be part of our films if the script requires so. World cinema and Hollywood films have had actors shedding their clothes according to requirements of the story," Bhandarkar told PTI from Karjat where he is currently shooting for the film.
Jail sees Neil play a prisoner and the naked scene comes as a part of a torture sequence where his character is told to strip off by the policemen.
"The scene was not an attempt to shock anyone. It is an integral part of the film. It was not an easy one to shoot but I have tried my best to depict it in a very stylised and aesthetic fashion. It is not a typical nude scene," Bhandarkar said.
However, Neil is not the only one to go buff for a scene, his good friend John Abraham has already stripped of for a similar torture scene in Kabir Khan's New York which also stars Neil.
It may be Abraham's first 'full monty´ but the actor has never shied away from showing his well toned body, which has won him legions of both female and male fans.
The 36-year-old had earlier enlisted the help of Hollywood's celebrity fitness trainer Mike Ryan to build a beach body for his gay comedy Dostana which saw Abraham emerging out of the sea, wearing a pair of tiny bathing trunks.
His latest film New York, which revolves around the lives of three friends, Katrina Kaif, John Abraham and Neil Nitin Mukesh, is slated to hit the theatres in June this year.
The Bollywood hunk has stripped off for a sequence in the film where he is shown lying naked in the police custody screaming about his innocence.
When asked is this the new trend starting in Bollywood, Abraham jokingly remarked, "Oh really... I didn't know everybody is doing it."
Reminded about Neil Nitin Mukesh's Jail act, Abraham said, "I don't think any body is copying it. It becomes necessary when it is the call of the director and demand of the script," he said.
Earlier Ranbir Kapoor had dropped his towel in a song sequence in his debut film Saawariya. Though the film tanked at the box office, the song became popular thanks to Kapoor's 'towel dance´.
Actor Rahul Bose had also dropped his pants for the acclaimed art house film English August.
But like all Bollywood trends, the buck stops at the audience who in this case seem to be opening up to the idea of seeing their heroes strip on screen.
"For years, we have had women stripping for the cameras, so why make an issue out of male nudity. Moreover the Indian audiences have seen similar fare in Hollywood films which are popular here and it is no longer a taboo," said Deblina Lal, a homemaker.