The opening scene of The Dirty Picture shows a rustic Silk Smitha moaning in her room trying to distract a couple who is having sex in the next room. As I settled comfortably on my seat in the cinema hall enjoying the moaning overlapping with my wife’s laughter, I heard another voice – a crying child. At first I thought it’s a woman screaming at her husband but then a second later, a pair of toddlers swooshed past me playing on the stairs of the cinema hall. Considering the fact that the movie had an Adult only certificate, there were a lot of children in the theatre. It seems that Indian parents have taken up sex education very seriously and the cinema owners were fully supporting them by royally flaunting the rules.
That is why, when I&B ministry decided to stop the prime time telecast of the movie, it was unscrambling scrambled eggs. If the I&B ministry wanted to save the parents from embarrassment, maybe stopping the news channels from using the word “Porn” while telecasting the sham that happened in the Karnataka assembly would have been the right step.
Another point to moan in the whole episode is that the movie won three National Awards and still was banned to be shown in prime time. It’s like the French draping the statue of Venus with a cloth in the Louvre and justifying it with the following statement – “We know it’s a masterpiece but we can’t show her naked breasts to children.”
I am not completely blaming I&B ministry for this. The ministry apparently received a lot of calls from concerned parents about the effect the movie will have on their children. Haven’t the parents heard of a remote control? And how much of the objectionable content of the movie will be left after 59 cuts? Did the parents understand the meaning of a UA certificate and the fact that the Censor Board approved the movie after the cuts? Maybe instead of sexually oppressing their children, such parents should talk to them about the topic. They will be surprised to know that their children can teach them a thing or two.
I grew up watching Baywatch and Santa Barbara with my grandparents and came out all right. I do not eve tease; I am not a rapist and have a comfortable job. Although my parents did not want me to see Pamela running on the beach wobbling her assets and reprimanded my grandparents for making me sexually active well before my age (which is not true I think), all they could elicit was an amusing tsk-tsk from my grandma. She found my parents very old fashioned. It’s just a bloody kissing scene, she would say at times.
Sometimes I wonder if there is an entire spectrum of parents in India. The liberal who take their children to watch Delhi Belly, The Dirty Picture and Vicky Donor and the conservatives who have loads of time on their hand to file a PIL against Dirty Picture being shown on prime time after 59 cuts. I am sure the latter group would turn a beetroot red every time they view an advert for sanitary napkins and condoms in front of their children.
The point being that the more a child is hushed into not watching something, the more curious he gets. If you do not give him any answers, he will find them from somewhere else, sometimes contorted ones. I am not asking the parents to send their children to strip clubs but running towards your child with a blanket to cover him up every time you see Imran Hashmi on screen will not help either. You will end up with a lot of holes in your blanket.
And please do not talk about culture and values. I am sure parents will instill more values in their children if they do not spit on roads, do not litter and do not jump signals in front of their children. Installing values is making the children aware of the various evil practices rampant in our great nation. And culture is nothing but a controlling stick. The brittle it gets, the better.
And, yes, The Dirty Picture is available for 20 Rs in a lot of markets in India. I am quite sure most of the children can afford it.