We aspire to be world class, our films are lauded when they receive accolades abroad, and we keep up with the latest trends, clothes and lingo. We aspire to be global citizens. Yet, when we are faced with an actress who flaunts a beach-perfect body with taut abs and a sculpted look, our attitude towards them somehow puts them on the defensive.
They’re happy with their bodies, they’ve worked hard for it. But it’s almost like we’re wagging a moralistic finger at them and saying ‘Shame, shame! How could you do such a thing?’ Has anyone ever heard of this happening abroad? No one batted an eyelid when Pamela Anderson got her kit off and Paris Hilton’s shenanigans only added to her fame. No one tut-tutted and told them, Dupatta dal lo baby!
And it doesn’t even have to be about A-list. A Neetu Chandra doing a sizzling Ajanta-Ellora recreation with an equally gorgeous woman on a beach wearing almost nothing will set any red-blooded male’s pulse racing. They’re tapping into an age-old history of appreciation for the female form in all of its curvaceous beauty. Yet, most of us will instinctively apply the epithet ‘dare bare’ when writing about such a scene. And there lies the crux — it’s not ‘daring’ to bare. It’s hot. It’s not bad; it’s good. Let’s encourage our actresses to chuck the props and show us some more. After all, it’s what we want! Here’s how we ought to try and do so...
Bipasha Basu, who hid behind a surfboard but wore a bikini in No Entry, could be asked...
WRONG: Didn’t you feel hesitant about exposing in front of the camera? Do you feel comfortable with the tag ‘sex symbol’ and what your partner/ family will think of it?
CORRECT: Way to go with that hot bod, babe... but why hide 50% of what’s 100% to die for and probably every man’s fantasy?
Saif Ali Khan’s mother, Sharmila Tagore wore a two-piece in the conservative 1960s for An Evening In Paris. Actresses were voluptuous then and not into fitness and body-sculpting. But they were bold. Kareena Kapoor... who, finally, wears a bikini in Kambakht Ishq after briefly flirting with the outfit in Tashan, could be asked...
WRONG: Do you feel that you really needed to do the bikini scene in the movie? Did you face any flak for it and were you conscious in front of the camera?
CORRECT: Hoo boy! finally we get to see that size zero figure! You were keeping it under wraps for what, so long? Didn’t you feel a sense of power, knowing that you had the men eating out of the palm of your hand?
Priyanka Chopra, who went one step short of a bikini in Dostana but came out in swimsuits and beach wear, could be asked...
WRONG: Now that you were in your bare essentials in Dostana, will you open up more in your next role?
CORRECT: Micro-minis, shorts, tankinis and that gold one-piece are hot... and you had our cold coffees and milkshakes bubbling over for joy. But fans want more. Surely the fashion police wouldn’t have blown the whistle on you in Miami if you wore a string bikini on the beach... John was more of a sport, he all but stepped out of those yellow swimming briefs.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who wore a modified bikini of sorts in Dhoom 2 and is not shy of showing cleavage — but may perhaps never reveal herself in a bikini, could be asked...
WRONG: Now that you have married and settled down, do you feel it is wrong to expose?
CORRECT: You were a model and then became Miss World... both of which required you to appear in public and on stage in swimwear... why the shyness on your part to do the same on screen? Especially when you’ve worked hard to get that body...
Geeta Basra did a hot kissing scene in Train. Probably one of the lustiest kisses in Bollywood. Here’s what she can be asked....
WRONG: What went through your mind when you were told you had to do such a scene? Didn’t you feel shy, having not done something like this before?
CORRECT: Way to go girl! You turned up the heat and stole the show in that scene. It was hard to believe that you were acting, it was spot-on. Let’s see more such realism in the future.
Lisa Ray plays a Christian-Arab lesbian in the humorously entitled I Can’t Think Straight. Prior to that, in 2007, she appeared nude in Kill Kill Faster Faster and did a few uninhibited sex scenes, something which no mainstream actress of Indian origin had done before...
WRONG: Do you expect your gratuitous nude scenes to ruffle the feathers of the moral brigade here? What kind of backlash do you expect?
CORRECT: The movie was amazing and so was your portrayal of the character. Which Bollywood actor or actress would you like to have it off with, if you could do so in such a scene? When do we see you do a kama-sutra like role?
Upcoming actress Neetu Chandra and a fellow actress bring the eroticism of Ajanta and Ellora into our century. Some describe the girl-on-girl scenes as lesbian, not without a hint of derisiveness. But inside, they’re acting out every straight man’s fantasy...
WRONG: Do you do such scenes only for publicity? Do you rely too much on skin-show?
CORRECT: You’ve pushed the limits in this scene and went way beyond what Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi treated us to in Fire. Wow, all we can say to you, from all the boys (and some envious women too!) is ‘awesome!’