From a peep into the bathroom, to intrusion in the bed room and now making inroads into the toilet showing explicit ‘loo scenes’, Bollywood movies have come a long way. If the success of Aamir khan’s latest production is any thing to go by, we really have matured as an audience. Look, what a mature audience we are! We have made Delhi Belly, a movie in which toilet occupies the centre stage, a ‘farting’ success.
Not that Delhi Belly is a pioneer in the field of toilet humour. There have been examples galore in the films of yesteryears where the groans and gripes of stomach have been the source of humour but of course, the rumbling and growling of the stomach in those movies was notional, depicted by the sound effects. The characters, normally the comedians, will have an upset stomach induced by some laxatives who would be shown clutching their bellies while making frequent trips to the toilet. The camera would take the audience to the toilet door but never into the loo.
In sharp contrast to the films of the by gone era, the camera is more adventurous these days or I may say, the director is daring nowadays. He takes the liberty to take the viewer right inside the toilet. But why should the viewer shell out money for some thing which is available free of cost outside in the country (open defecation)? And also I fail to understand how a loo excursion can be amusing. Don’t the explicit toilet scenes with realistic sound effects make one nauseated? How can anyone enjoy a cold drink or munch popcorns while watching the loo exploits? Perhaps, this could be the reason why Delhi Belly which is packed with never-ending toilet scenes does not have an interval.
Earlier in the mainstream Hindi cinema there was a clear distinction between the conduct of the hero and the villain, but in the movies of today, the line has blurred. The hero need not be polished and refined any longer. He could be a foul mouthed character using cuss words. In Delhi Belly there are galis galore, all the characters, whether hero or the sidekicks, speak a language which is unashamedly abusive.
In fact, vulgarity, it seems is the new ‘in thing’ in films these days. Perhaps the idea is not just to entertain but to shock the audience, even if it is by the linguistic pursuits of the characters and their uncouth behaviour. Aren’t many of the recently released main- stream Hindi films brazenly crude in their pursuit of realism? Crudeness may lend realism to the film but how vulgarity can be entertaining, I fail to understand.
Published in Hindustan Times on Aug 26, 2011