'I Am Offended By That.' Well, So Fucking What.

In & Out


Getting Offended

 

                    I wish I could, but I don’t think that I can wait till the night begins.”, he leans in kissing her passionately on the lips. She moans in pleasure and starts unbuttoning his shirt.

The camera zooms out, shifts focus out through the window to a tap that suddenly starts sputtering out water.

Subtle. I remember saying ‘wow’ out loud in amazement.

There’s a fine line that separates the obscene and the sensuous. The onus is on the definition of these two. While there is an extent to which one might argue in favour of protecting the young and the sensitive, it is hard to see why it should encroach so deep into artistic freedom. Contrary to what we might have been led to believe - Indians do have sex. Women too - surprise surprise! It is really hard to explain the one billion Indians otherwise. The simplistic no-smoke-without-fire rule applies so effectively here.

If so, why is the topic such a taboo? No one mentions it in public. Any innuendos are frowned upon. Who can forget the awkward two minutes when that sex scene played out in your living room while you were watching 300 with Mom and Dad. (“It is historical fiction. Greeks and all. The climax is really good”, I had explained sheepishly).

 

Censorship

 

There are a thousand myths that circle around in the teen community- about sex, sexuality, sexual etiquette, dating, marriages, pregnancy etc. Do you know why these exist? It is because we don’t tell our children the simpler truths and instead choose to confuse them with complicated lies. A curious child raises a question, and someone shoves a morsel into his mouth, asks him to look at the streamer hanging over his head or stare at the peas in the plate until something else catches his imagination. Who are we afraid of? Booby Man? Parents will teach children table manners and elaborate on how to cross the road, but sex - (“Shush!”) is a no-no. Everyone feels so awkward while talking about sex with their kids. It’s as if we all just popped into existence.

Smoking on screen is now sexy again. Yes it can kill you, but so can driving. I am not endorsing smoking, but do watch Keanu Reeves in Constantine - real people do it. Movies are supposed to reflect reality, and restricting smoking on screen will be like taking away a detail that is one of the more defining aspects of a lifestyle. And don’t tell me that Gutka Mukesh did have an impact on you. We need to realise that this generation can see through the bullshit.

We have a bunch of hare-brained and pea-sized intellect groups comprising of creatures with an IQ of 37 and just no remainder - and these morons line up and pretend to take a stand for the Indian culture. They teach the 3 T’s - tehzeeb, taur, tareeqa but shy away from the real T. Truth be told - these are just single men with good forearm muscle definition (three times a day is evident). So much for moral policing.

The icing on the cake is – abuses. Every-fucking-body in the world swears! Stop acting like you don’t. Surviving through nonsense, even Harishchandra would have used some classy Sanskrit expletives. Yet movie dialogues embarrass us. I can understand if you are ‘class act’ and “I don’t stoop to that level of language! Tch, tch”. I can understand if you don’t believe in doing so (*cough Pretentious douche *cough), but when you act like the whole world needs to stick to your high moral code, and stop expressing themselves in a moment of fury or madness - Fuck you, and your upright, rigid, misplaced sense of righteousness. Indian cinema functions on this notion - one may create whatever one cares to, but if some people are aggrieved, then you may have committed a crime. A movie like PK unmasks the hypocrisies inherent in the idea of religion, unraveling it to discover that there is no true essence in any of the tomfoolery that goes around in the name of God – and boohoo! Everybody panics! Everybody is offended! 

Honestly, are you that thin-skinned, and are your beliefs (religious or otherwise) so frail that you cry and bawl and break things when someone wishes to disagree with you? Are you any different from the fanatics who crash down skyscrapers with airplanes to assert their sensibilities? Aren’t you a boneless version of the same, only hiding behind veils of ‘civility’ and ‘morality’? Aamir maybe the alien in the movie but the entire notion of PK seemed alien to those who raised issues. Well, if this doesn’t defeat the purpose of democracy, I don’t know what will. Every time a movie is banned, an artist dies, a democrat dies, a secular dies.

So is censorship unnecessary? Well, the answer depends on the degree - no puns intended. Censorship is defined as ‘the suppression of public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by governments, media outlets or authorities’. Funny, isn’t it? Some say it is a legal way to vandalise art. What is the necessity? A blind-sided running away from normal acts of humans on grounds of morality is just hypocritical, or “darn uncool mahn” in teen-tongue. Great movies are made when they talk about real people and real life. We enjoy it when we can relate to it and when we feel like it echoes with the real world. 

So if having sex – be it for reproduction or for pure pleasure (*gasp) - is a reality, why not refer to it? If we needed sermons, one could as well dust up our Moral Science textbooks (‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop and how Raju burned up his apartment while playing with matches because he was too lazy to study’ - don’t get me started on those). That being said, we needn’t see sausages and melons in all their grandeur to appreciate a storyline, so some genuine creative discretion is indeed necessary.

At a time when women’s safety issues are finding so much attention (much needed in fact), it is easy to blame it all on the entertainment media and how the young generation is getting influenced. Nothing is more intellectually testing than listening to the words ‘Indian culture’ and ‘social values’ being freely thrown around by idiots. What they argue for is not really the Indian culture but assumed ideas of conservatism.

The argument that movies and western TV shows are causing the rise in dangers to women is shaky, at best. Though it is too callous to deny it without any scientific backing, the theory is too far-fetched. Would you start murdering civilians after a season of Dexter? Or don the cape to be a vigilante as soon the credits rolled for a Nolan flick? We are barking up the wrong tree. If everybody was made to see that sex is a necessary fact of life and that respecting women and behaving with dignity is necessary – then we are indeed done with social education on this front. We are to teach and be taught the right morals. The culture needs to be cultivated at a young age. If society becomes so mature, free, acceptable and artistic, no censorship is required. 

It is true that the silver screen is very impactful. The flowing moments we see on celluloid, though artificial, do leave an impression. As compared to, say reading, they are more involving - the connection is immediate, the membrane thinner. Yes, at times vulgarity becomes fashion. Yet there is no kind of realism that will become so lusty and vulgar as to damage a society that is built on a solid foundation of culture. If you fear so, you know nothing about our forefathers.

We need to see beyond just the skin - the bigger jigsaw. We need to believe. Understand how it connects to some point further up. Till we do that, the debates will rage on.


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