G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Chris Ware: "Being a cartoonist means you don’t consider yourself too fancy."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Only Witches Wear Bikini in Hindi Films?

An Evening in Paris (1967) is my favourite movie. First time, I watched its matinee show (3 PM) at Kolhapur (Venus cinema?) by standing in an overwhelming queue to buy a ticket.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. What did I like?

Shammi Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor…music of Shankar - Jaikishan, Rajendranath and bikini clad Sharmila Tagore. In Hindi films, rarely a woman has looked as sensuous as her, without a touch of vulgarity.

And now her daughter says: Sharmila Tagore says that wearing a bikini in An Evening in Paris was “the biggest mistake of her life”.

Why Ms. Tagore? Why deny me my infatuation, my fantasies? If Zeenat Aman also joins you in regretting number of things she did, it would be like my adolescence spent in Stalin’s gulag. (See a related picture post on this subject here.)

Times of India November 26, 2007 thinks it knows the reason: “Why the bikini is badnaam”

“…The bikini in some form or the other has become an acceptable part of Bollywood’s grammar, but the bikini-wearer herself is still a pariah.

Women in the glamour industry won’t bat an eyelid while shooting in bikinis for international assignments, but will valiantly resist in India—or at least state their reservations loudly in public - acutely aware that such an act will amount to transgressing some unspoken cultural boundaries. In the eyes of the public, the bikini-wearer is often seen as having crossed the final frontier of Indian values and traditions, and becoming one of “those women” - sexually aggressive, “characterless”, out of control and endowed with all the qualities of Western female sexuality that the bikini symbolises.

… The message is that “only bad women wear bikinis”. The implication is that women who wear such clothes get sexually harassed, and have no one to blame but themselves. They ‘asked for it’.

A bikini has nothing to do with being good or bad and statistics on crimes against women show that what women wear has no bearing on sexual harassment faced by them. Yet the fear of being associated with bikinis only compounds these dangerous misconceptions, adding a greater burden to women to take responsibility for their own safety.

…Wearing a bikini is part of the performance alright. But at the end of the day, after pack up, they go back to real lives with real relationships built on the damning sexual moralities of Indian society in which women are always up for trial. “



Artist: Frank Modell The New Yorker 27 October 1962