By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
So what's 'cocaine' in Bollywood? I don't think too many of them snort anything but indignation.
Let's talk about sex. That's what everyone in Bollywood seems to be doing. Either this has got to be the most promiscuous entertainment industry in the universe, or else the studs are just having an extended feel-good day.
The season of extended libidinousness started when I asked a very high-profile media savvy movie baron what he intends to do with the leading lady he had recently signed. "Oh I'd like to do PLENTY with her," he chuckled, much to my embarrassment. After so many years of being a not-so-mute spectator to Bollywood's Bunty-goes-bubbly behavior, I still feel, the less said about their mores the better.
I still remember I had asked the same stunning actress-friend about working with this director. She had confided, "No way he seems to be mentally taking your clothes off while talking to you."
And yet she agreed to work with him finally. One must swim with the sharks, and the better you are at it, the stronger your chances of not being subjected to sexual harassment. I can't forget the spunky Mallika Sherawat's response when I warned her against meeting the aforementioned filmmaker.
"Why?" she shot back. "I'm not scared of any man. And if he actually undresses women with his eyes then good... he'll get to see a good body when he finishes his task."
More power to the Mallikas of moviedom. Though we do not see eye to eye anymore (Mallika changed while I wasn't watching) I still say, sexual insouciance is preferable to the wide-eyed bimbo act.
You can't be Alice when you are surrounded by malice in wonderland. I came to this awful realization when two months back I was speaking to one of Bollywood's top male playback singers about an aging toupee-d but indefatigable music director. "Gawd, all he thinks about is f...king," the singer groaned. "Even when we were judging a music contest together he'd look at the female contestants only in THAT way." But weren't those kids on the contest 17 and 18? "Age is no bar for this horny guy, though fortunately, gender is," retorted the singer.
Shucks. I was planning to send a bright young singer to this music director. Now I wonder if it's worth it.
But the bright young singer Himani Kapoor shocks me with her devil-may-care confidence. "Don't worry, Sir. I know how to handle myself. I can tell a man's neeyat (intentions) by the way he looks at me and shakes my hand. Also, I've my dad who's come all the way from Haryana, to keep a hawk's eye over me. Sometimes I feel embarrassed by his constant presence. But then there're more embarrassing options that I'd like to avoid."
So wordly-wise at 17? What happened to the babes in the woods? "They were swallowed up by the wolves in the forest," retorts my friend Raveena. "The concept of the 40-year or even a 20-year old virgin heroine is entirely passe now. Today's wannabe knows how to get their way. They come fully equipped and protected."
To corroborate this view my pal Madhavan confides, "I tell you, to fob off temptation is a largely losing battle. The way some of these girls throw themselves at you, you need nerves of steel and a chastity belt to remind yourself that being unfaithful is just not an option."
I remember some years ago an eminently virile actor-friend of mine was between relationships. While trying to slip out of one relationship into another he ran into his departing flame in the freezing Alps. "So what happened?" I asked him. "Nothing. We embraced like two platonic friends."
I knew there was more to come. "But after a while the embrace was no longer platonic." That thin almost invisible line between how-are-you and wow-are-you tends to slip off more often now than it used to.
"It's about sex sex sex," says a disgusted serious young actress seen in a couple of international and national projects. A small-towner from UP with a classical singer for a mom, this actress sought a home with an eminently successful reputed superstar-lyricist. "At first he treated me like a beti and a pupil. Then one day when I wasn't home he asked me for a guru-dakshina. I couldn't give him. I fled."
Is the industry suddenly over-sexed? Or are we just talking more about it?
Dilip Kumar, SRK's home in Pakistan
Winners: 13th Annual Star-Screen Awards