Retrograde. Bamboozlement! More Bamboozlement!

blue bare back loop-back

Fimfare 1-15 Oct 1981

Topic of discussion was Kalpana Iyer's bare back scene in Armaan(1981), a film about 'Liberation of Goa' (you see, I wasn't kidding, there is a co-relation between skin show in Indian Cinema and Goan liberation). The article talked about what a 'bare back' meant generally in greater context of Indian culture and in lesser context to censorship in India.

The news is about some bright people in Calcutta coloring posters in blue ink to cover a 'bare back' so that it becomes less obscene and less provocative.

April 17, 2012

Good old Khushwant Singh wants to know Why sexy films are ‘blue’… not red, yellow or green? and recounts catching one with Good old R.K. Narayan.

The reason:

"Comparing this notion of prudisness to the expression blue movie (i.e., pornographic films). the later one seems to entail quite an opposite meaning, but it is a metonymy as well, just having gone into a different direction. This expression dates back to the days of Puritanism in Northern America, where certain laws against sinful behaviours, which happened to be written down on blue paper, were passed. These laws referred to drinking, gambling, sex, and business hours. After a while, this original meaning was narrowed down and referred just to laws dealing with sex and pornography, which then gave rise to expressions such as blue laws, blue movies, blue jokes, to turn the ait blue and like."

~ Speaking of Colors and Odors by Martina Pl├╝macher, Peter Holzc [google books, zindabad!]

Had Khushwant Singh stayed with The Illustrated Weekly of India for a few more months, he would have known the answer in all the details. April 21-27 1985 issue of the magazine on 'Blue Movie: The Porn Film Boom in India' prepared the groundwork and proved to be the framework for all subsequent journalistic forays into this sensitive subject. Among other things it talked about how poorly paid were the women working in these movies and how an actress who started her career with Satyajit Ray ended up working in a Southern B-movie. The controversial issue later came under some criticism also for its use of 'blue pictures' to sell story when there might have been no need for them to do so as the subject really was well researched. The piece was so good (or the subject so profitable) that parts of it were re-used for almost a decade by other publications like India Today, Filmfare  and few others for their 'Blue issues'. These 'blue issues', in a tradition set by Illustrated Weekly, were always over illustrated. The trend continued right till late 1990s when finally they found a new subject - Smut Gut Internet. Interestingly, a lot of that Smut, the 'Mallu Masala' flooding the Youtube now was produced in 80s and 90s, and sprang from a few films first made in 1970s communist Kerala under a liberal censor board.

1 comment:

  1. It would be better if you could post scans of that article. You seem to have an amazing collection of these vintage "Illustrated Weekly of India." Where do you get them. From Daryaganj Sunday Market?


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