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Bollywood's skin show

Gone are the chiffons and crinoline: 2007 is about flaunting your body and being proud of it. RA Irani writes on exposure, decent and indecent, in our movies today.
None | By R A Irani, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 05, 2007 04:47 PM IST

Face it. Even while the mantra of go-vegetarian spreads throughout the world, Mumbai’s marquee is doling out flesh a la carte. Gone are the chiffons and crinoline, gone are the cute-‘n’-coy fluttering of the eyelashes.. and the swaying smooching daffodils to hint at the big sex act: 2007 is flaunting body and proud of it.

Who are today’s skin specialists? Bipasha Basu has acquired a semblance of class. To be ‘massy’ with an edge pays. So, it’s more than likely that she will be remembered for her rustic oomph in the Bidi jalaiyle set piece in Omkara ..than for her high-collar executive act in Corporate. A bikini show is fine for Dhoom 2 but after that it’s no more Jism jazzeroo, please.

But what about Aishwarya Rai please? She signalled plenty of hair-pin latex curves ahead in Dhoom Too, but after marriage it goes without saying, that the accent will be more on histrionics ( huh?) than sex appeal.

Then and now
Priyanka Chopra was the A-grade hottie in Aitraaz but hello, what’s with the bahenji look after that? In Don, well okay, she was in shape, but didn’t exactly make the viewers’mind spin.

Kareena Kapoor has a sweet sensuality but has been missing from the scene, since Omkara, in which her white salwaar kameez look was the sort that made Paris go berserk for Helen of Troy. Simplicity can work.

Mallika Sherawat believes she’s the ‘it’ girl but needs a Mani Ratnam to dignify her in a belly dance in Guru.

And Himesh Reshammiya to ruin it to a giggle worthy bump-and-grind in Aap kaa Surroor. When she oozes steam in a candle-lit room, what else is she but a wannabe Madame Tussauds wax work?

Micro skirts
Lara Dutta gets into a micro-skirt for Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (dare she demure?.. it’s a Yashraj production). In a similar groove Rani Mukherji wears a longer forehead fringe than the hanky-skirt for Ta ra Rum Pum. Kangana Ranaut, in the movies, is most often to be found amidst rumpled bed sheets or foamy bubble baths.

Udita Goswami’s fledgling career may have been grounded because there was nothing more to flaunt after the boudoir intimacies of Aksar. As for Tanushree Dutta, lively enough in her early clump of movies like Aashiq Banaya Aapne and Chocolate, became a cautionary warning for fat isn’t beautiful in Raqeeb.

The precursor for Goswami-Dutta, in a sense, was Mamta Kulkarni who shed her inhibitions and more for the movie camera and glossy magazines. And see what happened! Can anyone recall Ms Kulkarni today? Not surprisingly, she opted for marriage and the US at the first given opportunity.

Queen of quotes
Cut to Rakhi Sawant — today’s hottie everyone hates to love. On TV, she announces that she’s been pumped up by “botox and injections.” And you also have to give her credit for coining the most quotable quote of recent years, “Jo dikhta hai woh bikta hai” (“What you see is what sells.”) The former quote specialist, Neha Dhupia, who once proclaimed that only Shah Rukh Khan and sex sell at the cash counters, is trying to shed her Julie image.. in vain.

Sex is no more than a special effect substituting for dramatic elements of plot, characterisation and emotional honesty. Steam is insufficient; smooches and bare bodies can lose their attraction before the viewer has batted an eyelid (

Red, Shakalaka Boom Boom, Red Swastik


Of shirt peels

Incidentally, the heroines aren’t the exclusively preferred gender when it comes to the bare essentials. After

Jism, Paap



, the gym-toned John Abraham has been associated with scenes in which he has to peel off his shirt and more. Consequently, the actor sorely needs a change of image if he wants to escape being typecast as a “semi-nude stud.”

Salman Khan does the skinbiz with an in-built sense of self-parody. Hrithik Roshan is intelligent enough to alloy muscle exhibition with plots of super-heroism. Shah Rukh Khan doesn’t have to do it at all, mercy be.

But when Abhishek Bachchan attempts to be physically alluring, it doesn’t work at all (see the heavy duty lumbering performance in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom).

Saif Ali Khan, so far, is a curio piece — far more impressive in the script-driven Omkara than in the flab-dancing stuff on the beach in Salaam Namaste. Akshay Kumar has correctly re-invented himself —physically agile but capable of handling comedy, high drama and romance simultaneously.

Must for newcomers
As it happens, practically every newcomer is first asked for a photo portfolio by filmmakers, big and small. Expectedly, every aspirant hands over snapshots showing him in the buff. The abs are accentuated.. rippling arms are considered more vital than either the aspirant’s face or talent. For the girls, leggy and cleavage auditions are a must. At this very moment skin is in.

Urvashi Sharma, a Delhi girl, is scheduled to go oomph-la-la next week in Naqab. Perhaps she will.. depending on, as they say in film parlance, “her presentation.” Oh, but of course you never know about tomorrow. The prim and propah guddis and guddas next door could well make a comeback.. till then, lie back and watch the khul jaa skin skin.

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