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Indian blue: The dark side of the Indian film industry

November 4, 2011 - Kritika Seksaria

THERE was a time when kissing in a Bollywood movie was considered taboo. However, even at that time there were certain people involved in making something even more scandalous – porn films, or as they are popularly known in India, blue films.

Shakeela

Shakeela. Pic: photodhaba.com

The hub for the industry has generally been South Indian soft-core porn filmmakers. Illegally available in some markets, hard-core porn is against the law in India. Since the censorship rules were more relaxed in South Indian states, it has over the years developed a reputation for making a large number of erotic movies.

This billion-dollar industry does not target international audiences. Unlike Asian, Russian or Latino porn, Indian pornography is not very prevalent beyond the sub-continent. The women in these movies are generally more voluptuous and themes of these movies centre on a woman’s sexuality, aggression and pleasure.  A large contributor to this trend was Shakeela, a soft-core porn actress. Having appeared in over 70 movies in her hey-day, the deluge of Shakeela Films were made on a budget of 20-25 lakhs and they were dubbed in other Indian and sub-continental languages such as Sinhala and Nepalese.

The era of Shakeela Films declined with the strict censorship laws in South India. The Internet and the globalisation of sexuality started affecting the industry as well, and the days of porn video-cassettes are long gone. The elite and also the middle class have access to the Internet and are exposed to a an endless choice of international porn.

That said, it is worth noting that the Indian porn industry is far from dead. The lower middle class and working class sections of the society, who do not have regular access to the Internet, still flock the theatres or find a cheaper way to watch these movies on their television set. Also, a lot of them prefer Indian pornography as they do not have sufficient exposure to the western culture and as a result relate to the fantasy of Indian actors better.

Priya Rai Pic: rapmonster.com

Recently, the Shakeela generation has been succeeded by more sophisticated women with aesthetics globally appreciated, such as Priya Rai. Model Poonam Pandey also has been hogging the limelight with live-webcam shows that attracted so many hits that the website ended up crashing. However, there are not very many actresses and models like these,compared to other countries. It is yet to be seen what the future holds for traditional Indian porn industry and whether or not the new era of westernised women in soft-core roles is whole-heartedly embraced.

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