love

When I was young, Helen was supposed to be a sex bomb in Hindi films. She played the role of vamp. But then, there were also others for the vamp roles. So, she stuck to her dancing roles. She was a good dancer. I still cannot understand why she was considered as a sex bomb. Perhaps, for the mainstream audience, it was due to some exposure of her body. But,her exposure was very limited. It was limited to navel, legs and perhaps a breast line. Beyond that there was not much exposure of the body from Helen. Today, most of the heroines in Hindi cinema would expose their bodies much more than Helen. Times have changed. There is no need for a vamp role today. The heroines themselves can satisfy such visual needs of the mainstream audience. This is also reflected in regional language films.

The heroes of Hindi cinema during those days were always clean shaven without mustaches. Only villains used to have mustaches or beards. The heroes were soft looking and not aggressive in their behavior. Then came a time when wannabe heroes are forced to go to gym and develop muscles, go for dancing classes and horse riding, etc.  The physical appearances of women and men got further segregated.

During my younger days, there used to be an actress called Vijayasree. She was also considered as a sex bomb. She was quite fat and had big breasts. She was also considered as a sex bomb by the Malayalees of those days. Her exposure was limited to her fat thighs. She was often paired with actor Prem Nazir whose thighs were thinner than those of Vijayashree. And I often felt that Prem Nazir was more feminine than Vijayasree. However, what amused me was a question: Why Malayalee men were fond of fat women? It was a time when fatness was considered as ugly in Hollywood. The radical feminists today would argue that being fat is also beautiful. Were Malayalees early radical feminists from this viewpoint?

The Hindi films or regional films in India gave priority to fair looking women and heroes. If the hero or lead characters are dark looking, they would be forced to paint themselves to look fair. The white supremacy was always there in our subconscious minds. Tamil films broke this code. Many dark looking heroes emerged in Tamil. But the heroines were always white Brahminical looking ones. Perhaps, it could be interpreted as the Dravidian conquest over Brahmins. I do not know.

Sex was always a taboo in cinema as well as in mainstream cultures in India. Therefore, we have seen schools and colleges where there are only girl students or only boy students. Mingling was considered a crime in families as well as by the institutions of power. For example, the RSS has always been a male organization. Patriarchy has been part of its ideology. RSS as an organization may collapse if it opens its membership to women also.

Patriarchy is also a norm for all political and religious organizations to a great extent. Our families are built around this ideology. This has led to frustration and regression for millions of people in India. However, just before marriage, many brides are given tips by older women from their relative circles on how to behave during sexual conduct. Similarly the friends of the bride groom also would provide lectures on sex to prepare the idiot. Nevertheless, the bride and bridegroom are caught up in a bedroom at night. Both do not know each other. But their job is to conduct sex. And they do not know how. Marriage is not just a license for sex, but it is also a social condition for sex. The premise is that you must have sex during the first night of marriage, otherwise you may be ridiculed. So, the socially conditioned innocent idiots who are told that sex is a crime or something too vulgar are suddenly told that your job is to perform sex tonight.  The bridegroom would not know how to penetrate into vagina. The social consciousness of sex as a crime would linger on their minds during the intercourse. There would be anxiety from both sides. The conduct of sex would fail in most cases due to anxiety alone. Some relationships escape and most others live as a compromise or adjustment due to societal needs and pressures.

Once, I was shocked to find a response from a friend of mine. He was a grandfather. But he did not know that women also have orgasm during sexual conduct. He appeared to be surprised to receive this knowledge. But he was already a grandfather who was socially and politically active. Well, this is India!

A friend of mine did an MPhil study on pornography in TISS. Unfortunately, I could not read her thesis. But we discussed the topic for some time. This topic interested me. What is known as pornography today on the internet must be classified in many manners. You can find intimacy, love, nudity, sex education without exhibiting the objective of education, sensuality, eroticism, pedophilia, rape and male aggression in these platforms. Today, everything is classified as pornography In India. From that perspective, the art works of Khajuraho are also pornographic.

What is interesting is that you can look into the fantasies of different cultures if you get a chance to look into some of these sites. The North Indians have a fantasy of sexual affairs with their Bhabis (Sister in Laws). The Korean youngsters have fantasies of having sexual relationships with their mothers. The European male fantasy is the sexual relationship between step father and step daughter. The power structures may be defined in sex conduct between tutor and student or security guard and thief. Within the western cultures, though the blacks are considered to be inferior, in their sexual behavior, the blacks are supposed to be more competent in sex than the whites. Perhaps, this could also be a matter of jealousy for the whites to develop racism in their territories. The list will go on if somebody is serious about an analytical study on this topic.

In  August 2008, when the Hindi film actress Sunny Leone visited Cochin, there was a huge fan club waiting for her. There was a big road block due to the presence of thousands of people. There was a rush of people from north Kerala as well as from South Kerala just to get a glimpse of her and to get a photo on their mobile phones. For the first time in her life even madam Sunny Leone was surprised to see such a huge fan club in Kerala. She has not been a great actress. Then how did such a large crowd emerge? Obviously, they would have seen her porn films. The same Cochin had witnessed lathi charge and attacks from police as well as from the fundamentalists and moral policemen in 2014 on a simple peaceful Kiss of Love protest by the youth. Therefore, the mainstream would fantasize sexiness, but condemn it as a part of social behavior.  How do we explain this contradiction in social morality? Pretension is the norm.

Keeping the lower ranks of the army sexually starved is a policy of the state. Only the top officers can get the license to stay with their wives and children in their bungalows. The majority of the army staff get a chance only to visit their families once in a year. This depraved section of people are the best pawns for violence. The State understands this too well.

Unlike other Governments in the world, the Indian Government is proceeding to restrict all forms of sex in internet. The idea is to develop a regressive society in the same model of RSS psyche. This seems to be a bit ridiculous. They would fine those who watch the video, but they would not fine those who place the video on the internet. It is like spending money on badly made horror advertisements on the use of cigarettes without banning the cigarette production. In Gujarat, alcohol is banned. But you can get alcohol even at 12 pm at night in Ahmedabad, if you know the source. All you have to do is to make a phone call and the alcohol will reach your doorstep even at midnight. This facility is not there in other states. The banning of alcohol is linked with corruption.

There is a need to separate visual image materials that instigate violence on the internet from such a broad classification. Anything to do with sex cannot be classified as pornography. In any case, there is no effective sex education within families, schools, colleges or by the Governments at the Centre or at the State levels. The taboo remains.  The sexually illiterate, starved and depraved youth are the best cadre for the Hindutva fascist forces. The dangers are ahead.

Love and sex today are too important political subjects. During communal violence in India, they become a premise for the justification of violence. Terms like Love Jihad are manufactured for this purpose. The natural inclination or attraction for the other gets restricted and prohibited under political grounds and not under religious grounds. India has become an absurd country where a boy or a girl can get killed and lynched just because of their attraction and love. In order to justify such expressions of violence, the power hierarchies of caste, religion, colour, region, sexuality, race or gender are used as political weapons.

It is time to reflect on how we wish to mould the emerging new generation. Do we want them to be sexually repressed, starved and depraved? Do we accept that sex is a human need? Do we intend to proceed issuing license for sex through marriage certificates alone? Do we accept, love, intimacy, romance and sex as a part of human behavior? The chances are that such questions will become more burning questions under present schemes of our Governments. Because, fascism can thrive only under brutal patriarchy which believes in sexual repression as a norm!

K.P. Sasi is a film maker, cartoonist, writer and an activist


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