Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum, Jism 2, Gangs of Wasseypur: Bollywood goes Liberal?

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TNI Bureau: Bollywood is the true reflection of the cultural zeitgeist of the Indian society. Hindi movies, through its story, dialogues, songs, dance and music, capture the larger part of our socio-cultural aspirations. At the same time, cinema is an art. And as an art form, it is allowed and expected to transcend boundaries between reality and fiction. A film-maker has liberty to present sensitive issues like violence, sex, gender hypocrisy et al in a way he thinks befitting to his artistic skills.

But for a long time in the history of Bollywood, this liberty existed only on paper and film-makers shied away from making such films fearing censorship and backlash from conservative groups. Things started changing in the late 90s and took a flight in the last decade. This year, three movies, Kya Super Kool Hain Hum, Jism 2 and Gangs of Wasseypur, created a lot of buzz courtesy their content – Jism 2, with a porn actress in a lead role and racy scenes; Kya Super Kool Hain Hum, the Indian ‘American Pie’, with its double-meaning dialogues and Gangs of Wasseypur for its raw portrayal of violence and use of expletives.

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Had these movies been made ten years ago, the film-makers would have hard time getting a censor board certificate. But today, the censor board has become more liberal. According to Dibakar Banerjee of Khosla ka Ghosla and Love Sex and Dhokha fame, the censor board has, in fact, become liberal in giving certification and imposing cuts.

Although, the censor board has given more freedom to film-makers there is a good part and a bad part about this phenomenon. The bad part is that India, being a pluralistic society, has got enough self-appointed censor boards in various conservative groups across the country. Some of the movies with a tag of liberal cinema have seen their posters being burnt, shows being hindered, hooliganism at theaters.

The good part is that the urban youth has accepted liberal cinema and this is something which is a good signal for film-makers. When a movie like Gangs of Wasseypur gets rave reviews, it means two things – encouragement for film-makers to make more such movies and a tectonic shift in the cultural DNA of the country.

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