'I've gone topless in one of the pictures.............Every guy will have it in his bathroom'
Now this declaration from Kashmera Shah could well join the ranks of some of the most scandalous quotes of 2011. And to think of it, the year has just begun. Having said that, with Kashmera proudly making an announcement while keeping her head high (while giving a good 'insight' into what is being promised), it has made Neha Dhupia's 'Sex v/s SRK', Mallika Sherawat's 'Once upon a time in Bollywood there were 17 kisses' and Sherlyn Chopra's 'What I demand from my man on bed' quotes seem like kindergarten talk.
In this week's 'Reflections', let's explore what it takes for the 'S' word to make an appearance in different shape and format either by being 'shocking' or by affecting one's 'sensibilities' in different ways.
Recently, when a top national newspaper carries Kashmera Shah's dare-bare picture on its front page, it was apparent that there is a definite direction that media is taking. 'There has to be sales. Period' - Now this could well be the diktat here. And what best way to focus an entire segment of a newspaper on celebrities and an insight into their personal and professional lives.
Scandals, affairs, break-ups and cat fights have always been the best selling flavours. They would continue to be and there would be no stopping that. After all it does make for an interesting 'breakfast table' read. But how about some sex? Now that's something which is turning out to be a recent development across board.
So while earlier it was only the 'firang' actresses who graced the last few pages of the newspaper supplements, it is the arrival of our very own 'desi' leading ladies in their dare bare avtar that has led to the entire concept of 'news' going through a major re-haul.
The front runners
A Kareena Kapoor is anytime a far more saleable name than a Kashmera Shah. However, when it comes to visuals, one can well expect Kareena, Priyanka, Katrina or an Aishwarya to have defined a boundary around them.
Yes, a Priyanka Chopra can drink away to glory, be responsible for the death of her many husbands and still gain redemption in 7 Khoon Maaf but that's the maximum she would go as there would always be a justification round the corner. She is a leading lady after all.
Similarly, a Kangna can be a couple of pegs down at every given point in time, use expletives even at religious places and get a tattoo on her chest for any random Romeo she meets (and dumps) every month (in Tanu Weds Manu) but when it comes to her choice of 'jeevansaathi', there is a quintessential Bollywood rebound which is always on the cards.
Still, it is still too much to expect them to go the Demi Moore or Jennifer Lopez or Lindsay Lohan way and hence what one gets to see is what still keeps them a 'heroine material' as per Indian sensibilities.
Bollywood heroines have their certain limitations and it is impossible for them to go any further. Well, for next five years at the least. Can one really be that sure? Yes, of course because at the end of it all Bollywood has its target audience as the entire nation and it is impossible to find an acceptance across its length and breadth by projecting yourself as someone who doesn't quite fit into a quintessential Bollywood heroine category.
This is where a Kashmera Shah comes into picture. And no wonder, she is a front runner when it comes to popularity being enhanced by raising the sex quotient.
A real need?
One may wonder if there was a real need for Kashmera to be actually making such scandalous quotes. In fact detractors may well argue that if not for anything else, they just facilitated some shock value.
Well, if that is really the case then a big round of applause for Kashmera who has actually managed to pull it off. You liked her quote? Then wait for what she has to offer. And those who thought on the contrary, then rest assured, they too wouldn't be far away from checking out from what she has to offer. Discreetly, of course.
A matter of choice
It all boils down to the choice that someone belonging to the world of glamour has. Either you can be a Kareena, Priyanka, Katrina or a Vidya to let your work do the talking. Or you take the kind of route that a Kashmera Shah or a Sherlyn Chopra may take.
There was a time when a Rakhi Sawant could make heads turn with her item numbers or Sherlyn could talk to you from the monitor though her photo shoots. But then in the times when the very concept of item girls has gone out of the window with every leading lady worth her salt wanting a special song for herself (Billu being the biggest example with Priyanka, Deepika and Priyanka vouching for a song apiece), where does that leave the original attention grabbers?
So Rakhi moves to television, Kashmera waits for a while and throws a bombshell as she has done now and Sherlyn could well be waiting for the big strike as well.
Its glam world baby and it is the visibility that matters - come what may!
And who takes care of the Censors?
This is where one ends up thinking about what really is the Censor board thinking? The word 'sex' is asked to be beeped in Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji, a ton loads of expletives are allowed in Yeh Saali Zindagi, a couple of topless shots are blurred in a lesser known Mr. Singh Mrs. Mehta while fate of Nandana Sen's topless shots in Rang Rasiya is still unknown. On the other hand whoever is controlling the print media is given a go ahead to put Kashmera's challenge of 'getting men in their bathrooms'. On the front page. True!
Could there be some out there who would be complaining? Not many as such eye candy visuals and scandalously-shocking-while-being-inherently-naughty quotes are what make the day for coffee table gossips. And then there is always an option to switch to a different newspaper or flip over to a different page when being caught staring at it for a little too long.
...and the future beckons
...that there is going to be more of it. When Hollywood inspiration has caught up in a big way all over the glamour forums, be it the reality shows, magazine covers, music videos and of course the newspaper pages. Especially so when it is the visuals that do the trick with readers merrily ogling to visuals of those 'firang' babes while being hardly concerned about the actual news piece which refer to her break up with someone totally random. Now that could well be the trend in 'desi' media as well.
Also, let's not forget the role of media which is always in the hunt to pick the most visible piece around and milk it to the last drop. News leading to debates and discussions is no more enjoying a shelf life of a month or more. It is down to a few weeks and in most cases, just a few days. And what better way to have the attention of entire media, be it internet, mobile or television to be directed at you 24X7 in these times of urgency!
News be damned, it is the visual that sells. Now whether it is getting into a bathroom or coming out of a bedroom, who really cares, right?
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