And that means new clothes, fireworks, gratuitous male nudity and of course controversy.
This year has been no different as families and friendships have split down the fault line of “Saawariya vs Om Shanti Om” as two of the biggest releases of the year hit the screens on the same day all across the country, competing for eyeballs in particular and balls in general. And if the battle between the two titanically iconic directors Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Farah Khan is not enough to satisfy the palate of the newshounds, this year the stakes are even higher because of THE controversy, the one that pundits are now referring to as “Towelgate”.
Towel main bahaar jaogi to halla mach jayega,
Kar dogi badnaam tum,
Karo naah aise kaam tum,
Tum ko aise dekhke har ek ladka sharmayega.
—Eena Meena Deeka
In 1994, Rishi Kapoor sung this above ditty admonishing the heroine Juhi Chawla for wearing just a towel in a public place. In a quirk of destiny (God does indeed have a sense of humor), in 2007 it is his son, famous “Dabba stealer” Ranbir Kapoor who is on the front pages of newspapers for creating a “halla” in a towel, doing a naughtier male version of Kajol’s “Mere Khawabon Mein Jo Aaye” and revealing his unclothed rear side. In the context of that scene from “Saawariya”, a national debate has erupted over “Should India see Ranbir dropping a towel” given that the censor board has decided that the general population needs to be protected from a naked male butt.
Needless to say, there has been an uproar about the curtailment in civil liberties that this scene-chopping has brought about with intellectuals of all political hues (except the Indian communists whose silence can be explained by the fact that they have not been able to figure out which side of the debate actually benefits the Chinese) and all sexual orientations strongly condemning the censor board for once again imposing their sense of morals on the country.
The argument against the ban is multi-pronged. Insiders have said that the removed scene was most artistic (not vulgar at all) [Sanjay Leela Bhansali did an amazing job of light and shade as the camera panned Ranbir’s bottom , highlighting the curves and contrasting the fissures in a way that has made the greatest director alive today (Sanjay Leela Bhansali) comment: ” I could not have done it better myself”] and the movie has become poorer as a result of the cut.
They also point out that the censor board has been much more liberal with male exposure and towels in the past—-sample this scene from “Suhaag” where man-meat Akshay Kumar, making no secret of what exactly Raveena Tandon, Nipunika, Ayesha Jhulka, Pooja Batra, Shilpa Shetty, Twinkle Khanna and assorted other nameless martyrs saw in him, wearing a skimpy thong underwear that would make a Chippendale male stripper turn red in the face, prances about and wipes himself with a towel. If this scene could get past the censor’s sharp blades, why not Ranbir’s JLo moment?
Koi jawaab hain tumhare paas?
The action of the censors seem even the more motivated when one looks at this picture of Shahrukh Khan, revealing his six-packs in “Om Shanti Om”, looking like a cross between a zombie of a Calvin Klein underwear model, Peter Andre and the “construction worker ” character of the iconic gay band “the Village People” . After all, if the censors are fine with 6 packs in the front, what is the problem with 2 packs at the back?
Of course there are some people who are sitting back, away from the raging debate, and enjoying the whole show—-whether it be wondering what’s keeping Ranbir’s towel up to what heat SRK is packing below those 6 packs. For these happy people it’s less about who keeps it up and who drops the ball but more about enjoying the magic of the male body.
And of course in keeping their personal phooljharis sparkling.
Cut the crap, cut the gyan-baazi, cut the will-it-won’t-it work naatak. Shah Rukh Khan and Farah Khan’s OM SHANTI OM is a true-blue masala entertainer
Feeling a strong sense of deja-vu at reading this line, trying to remember which of my past lives I had encountered such an opening, I alighted on a review of Dhoom 2.
written coincidentally, by a guy called (hold your breath) Taran Adarsh.
Cut the crap. Cut the gyan. Let’s come to the point straightway: Is DHOOM 2 as big as its hype? Does it meet the monumental expectations? Or is it a gas balloon with a leak?
Yes, DHOOM 2 works big time and here’s why.
We have been warned.
[Update 2: Again with a hat-tip to Nishit, we now have a first peek at India Cricket League’s new uniforms. This is definitely going to be the gayest “akhil bharatiya gainnd balla pratiyogita”. Ever.]