Vulgarity on Top

Sleaze Show

If any of you caught the recently aired film award functions organised by various film magazines and TV channels, chances are you also cringed.

Sleazy : Shah Rukh Khan (left) and Ranbir Kapoor doing a Dhak Dhak with Madhuri Dixit during an award function.

That is, of course, assuming that you like to draw that fine line between what’s watchable and what’s vulgar. Vulgarity seems to have become the mainstay in Hindi cinema with double meaning dialogues and item songs being used to promote upcoming films off late.

Whether or not they form the bulk of the film is a matter of discussion for another time and there is always a possibility that someone somewhere will insist that it pass through the Censor’s scissors and we could be spared the agony of uncouth gyrations in 70mm.

But when it travels off screen, onto live performance stages at film award functions, and into your homes vide satellite television without the benefit of censorship, there is little to be done except perhaps surf to another channel. If this seems a little too strong, consider the following instances which were aired not so long ago at different film awards functions this season.

While all the leading ‘ladies’ showed more skin and less clothes onstage - be it Katrina Kaif in Zee Cine Awards dancing to Chikni Chameli, Vidya Balan showing her excesses in Ooh La La - Tu Meri Fantasy at Colors Annual Screen Awards, Priyanka Chopra doing a Daaarrling! or Kareena swinging her hips wildly in Chamak Challo at yet another show, it was vulgarity all the way.

Given in concentrated (read three to four hour durations) doses with repeat telecasts almost every other day, vulgarity seems to be the ‘in thing’.

But it was Shah Rukh Khan, as an emcee, at different functions who really took coarseness to a new high. He shared cheap jokes with Madhuri Dixit even as she tried bravely to keep up with him - with one eye on her husband Dr Sriram Nene seated amongst the audience and looking rather unamused at the proceedings; insisted on kissing Katrina Kaif twice over despite her obvious discomfort; he shared (what he perhaps thought was filmy banter) with Vidya Balan when he picked up a particularly sleazy dialogue from The Dirty Picture and insisted on enacting it with her onstage, while she gamely responded.

And then came the cherry on top when he alongwith Ranbir Kapoor dressed up in costumes similar to that of Balan in The Dirty Picture and called various actresses on stage to dance - on the pretext of learning their moves from their popular songs.

Shah Rukh Khan or any ‘lady’ that he sought his best to woo, really don’t need to resort to these tactics to get noticed - given their superstar status. The anchoring is also in sharp contrast to how these awards nites are conducted when compared to the Oscars where anchors don’t stoop to this level to get a leg up on their colleagues or tickle their funny bone.

Time was when vulgarity in Hindi cinema was reserved for the vamp; when lines were clearly drawn between good girls (read heroines) and bad girls (vamps) like Padma Khanna, Helen, Bindu and Aruna Irani.

And mind you, all of them were careful to preserve their reputations off screen and wouldn’t have been caught dead in their on-screen costumes and especially not at public functions such as an awards nite.

But times, they are changing and and there is reason to believe that vulgarity is fetching eyeballs because there is little else that the lowest common denominator prefers. Or could it be that being percieved as an object of desire is the ultimate fantasy in showbiz? 

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