Bold one-liners, sexual innuendos and foul language is no longer male territory in Bollywood. In a sharp shattering of the sexist stereotype, a flood of new films now have the leading ladies giving the word ‘bold’ a new meaning. Consider Madhuri Dixit in Gulaab Gang: “Jab nichey wali leti hai toh patloon phaad ke leti hai,” and “Sanghatan shakti hai, akele mein tumhari phat-ti hai”, Grand Masti actor Kainaat Arora saying, “Meri doodh ki do badi-badi factories hain” and Bruna Abdullah’s tongue-in-cheek “wo toh aapka rocket dekh kar bata paungi”.
These recent examples are only additions to the already existing long list of such mouthings. Remember Huma Qureshi’s “jab kuchh nai karna toh amma ke saath hi (picture) jao” in Gangs of Wasseypur, Deepika Padukone’s honeymoon-before-marriage talk in Ram-Leela, and Madhuri’s seductive “Iftekhaa…aaaar” in Dedh Ishqiya?
“People converse and express themselves much more openly these days, so if a heroine’s role in a film demands an unabashed attitude, why not? It isn’t propagating vulgarity in any way,” says trade expert, Taran Adarsh.
The Dirty Picture director Milan Luthria agrees, “If a female character in a film is loud-mouthed, the dialogue can be dealt with in a clever way such that it’s impactful and yet not distasteful. And, aren’t movies about showing reality? Be it in cities or rural areas, women are heard hurling profanities and using cuss words, so why shy away from it on screen?” he says. Actor Kainaat believes this is what sells now. “It’s no big deal. The film’s success is more important.”
Some say the trend has emerged as filmmakers’ way of escaping the flak for ‘sexist’ dialogue from men, but others disagree.
“If that was the case, filmmakers would’ve been in trouble as women’s groups are far more intolerant towards women,” says adman Prahlad Kakkar. But, obscenity itself is a problem for some.
“Obscene dialogue, whether by men or women, are harmful for the society. The offensive language heard on-screen is also heard on the streets and in people’s daily conversations, but subtle sexual overtones in it can create tension and aggression in the society,” says social activist Ranjana Kumari.