Masturbation Scenes Go Mainstream In Bollywood!
Just weeks after the release of hugely successful film ‘Veere Di Wedding’, Director Karan Johar brought a bullet vibrator into the drawing room of a middle class household in ‘Lust Stories’–a Netflix original. The omnibus of four short films, directed by Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Benerjee, Anurag Kashyap and Karan Johar, explores love, morality, sexual freedom and power.
While Swara Bhasker continues to tackle trolls for her masturbation scene in her latest flick ‘Veere Di Wedding’, actors like Neha Dhupia and Kiara Advani have joined in her league by performing similar scenes in their latest release Lust Stories, which was released on Netflix on June 15. From exploring the various facets of lust to initiating a conversation on sexual desires and power relationships in the society, Lust stories received a widespread positive response from not just film critics but also the audience.
Masturbation on-screen isn’t something we see in mainstream Hindi films, regardless of a character’s gender. To have three women pleasuring themselves on screen, and others talking about it, has obviously made news. There have been think pieces, Facebook updates and for a few glorious hours, the word even trended on Twitter.
In the absence of meaningful sex-positive sex education in this country, seeing this representation of sexuality in Indian cinema, especially from the female point of view, is important. How else do we learn that loving and pleasuring yourself is the foundation to a happy sex life with a partner? Masturbation, for both genders, has always been a topic for behind closed doors (if at all) and it’s been completely ignored by our filmmakers. Until now, that is.
When Swara Bhasker’s mother Ira Bhaskar was earlier quipped about her reaction on Swara’s masturbation scene, she stated that in recent times, there has been a shift from metaphoric and symbolic articulation to a much more direct articulation. Citing an example, she stated in films like Fire, Lipstick Under My Burkha and Veere Di Wedding, we see women character who enjoy her performance, is sexually active and has qualms about what she wants. She does not want to be in a position where she is humiliated for being who she is. “Her choice and agency is very important. Here is a woman who is confident of her own sexuality,” she added.
With women showing the way by taking responsibility for their own pleasure, here’s hoping that Bollywood’s leading men will also lose their inhibitions.