C Grade movies and porn go underground
The winds of technological change have adversely affected the growth of C-grade films selling sex. These movies are losing money at theatres all over the country. Mumbai particularly used to be thriving business for such films as it has a huge population of single male migrants. Today however the Rs 90 crore industry is lucky if it can rake in five crore rupees. And no, this does not mean that young men have suddenly turned shy….today CD’s, cyber cafe’s, computers, and even mobile phones have become more affordable and people are using these to view soft porn or porn. In fact in many parts of India, including Mumbai, there has been some amount of moral policing as a result of which dance bars have been shut down, TV channels are not allowed to show adult movies, young couples caught necking have been roughed up, and ofcourse theatres showing porn have been forced to shut. Not that any of this has stopped. Dance bars have gone underground, young couples are more cautious and, porn is being viewed in private.
While what the TOI report says (not available online) is correct, that it is due to the moral policing that theatre owners and film makers have lost business, but is also a fact that the market for such films is very much alive and thriving. In a city like Mumbai for example, there are thousands of single male migrants, and therefore the demand for porn will never die. Why, half of the poor who live in slums are single male migrants, either unmarried or living away from their wives. I am not saying say that only the poor view porn (!) but just that the well-to-do do not find it necessary to go to sleazy theatres, they can view porn in private. Now it appears as if the majority of people are doing it this way. Quoting from the report:
There was a time when C-grade films were in demand. A Rs 10 lakh film would earn nothing less than Rs 25 lakh…but now business is almost dead…
Actually the report also points out something interesting. That Bollywood has become bolder. That even respected stars like Kareena and Aishwarya wear skimpy clothes and beautiful women like Mallika Sherawat have no qualms in showing their bodies and therefore watching C grade stars doing the same has fewer takers.
Well, I don’t think this is true because Bollywood has become less obscene in my opinion. During the seventies and eighties there was no dearth of ‘respectable’ films which showed needless and graphic scenes of rape, leading ladies in sexy revealing saries prancing around suggestively drenched to the skin, vamps performing raunchy numbers and obscene double entendres. However kissing was banned! Well, today kissing is often seen in movies and yes there are bedroom scenes, but thankfully the disgusting, violent and needless rape scenes (which used to make my skin crawl as a fifteen year old) are rare in mainstream films today. In fact there are films like Nishabd which go to the other extreme…they show romantic love between two people without sexual attraction!
Actually whether porn in itself is bad or good is not the issue, the fact is that porn here to stay. In fact in 2002 there was a proposal by the then Censor Board Chief Vijay Anand to legalise porn by designating special theatres for these films. A hue and cry was created at his suggestion and it is believed that he resigned due to this.
Well, porn being legalised is extremely unlikely in the near future in India and I am not even saying that it should be because unless there is a mechanism in place where young children are not exposed to it, I don’t think it should be. In fact we seem to be heading towards the other extreme…pretending that sexual desires are abnormal.
(Photo sourced from bbc)