Risqué promo posters lure Bollywood fans

2014-11-06 00:00

POSTERS have always played a critical role in the promotion of Bollywood films, with as much time spent by the creative teams on designing them for huge roadside billboards as they do on the video trailers which dominate the myriad satellite television channels these days.

But in line with the obvious aim of luring audiences to cinemas, posters have in recent years become increasingly bold as societal norms changed. Daring to challenge the moral brigade by getting as close as possible to the fence without jumping over, designers have nonetheless incurred their wrath with a number of risqué posters in the past few years, almost all because of nudity or sex.

The latest poster to have caused controversy is one where renowned actor Aamir Khan is shown naked except for a transistor radio placed in front of his manhood for his film PK, due for release next month.

When Canadian-born porn star Sunny Leone participated in the Big Brother TV series in India, producer Mahesh Bhatt walked into the house and offered her a role in his next film, Jism 2.

A sensual poster for the film showed a nude woman lying under a transparent sheet.

But the greater controversy than the alleged accidents caused as travellers on the busy Indian roads looked up at the huge billboards was the news that the woman used on it was not Leone, but actress Natha-

lia Kaur.

But long before Leone’s debut which saw her starring in many more seductive roles, a poster of a 14-year old teenager skiing down the breast of a mature woman to tell the story behind the film Ek Chhoti Si Love Story of a teenage boy and his beautiful lonely neighbour caused a huge stir.

The women’s wing of the political party Shiv Sena publicly burnt posters outside theatres and halted the movie’s screening.

The actress playing the mature woman, Manisha Koirala, caused further controversy when she tried to get a court order to stop the film being released, claiming the director had arranged scenes with another actress while implying to the audience that it was her body.

Bollywood mainstream gay film Dunno Y, Na Jaane Kyun featured a steamy poster of two gay men played by actors Kapil Sharma and Yuvraaj Parashar. The public outcry over the poster was further fuelled by publicity indicating that the film would show India’s first on-screen male gay kiss.

Before they became husband and wife, Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan posed for their film Kurbaan with both of them bare-backed in an embrace. Shiv Sena were again at the forefront of objections, with the party even sending a sari to Kapoor, urging her to use it to cover up in public.

There are many other similar examples of nudity and sexy posters being used to attract audiences and one cannot but wonder whether they are not sometimes deliberately designed to attract the attention of the moral police or political parties to generate greater publicity, often for films which might otherwise be easily forgotten.

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