Skip to main content

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. 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?


Post a Comment

I always like to hear back :)
However, irrelevant comments and irrelevant links will not be published. Needless to say, same goes for abusive comment and spam. Leaving back links related to the topic is encouraged. I know it can be tempting but try not to leave your email ids, phone nos and CVs in the comment.

Popular posts from this blog

Famous Old Faces of Doordarshan

Some people recall the faces and some people recall the names. Here are images of some of the famous readers and presenters of Doordarshan down the years. If you recognize any of them, leave a comment. [ Update 1 : Most of the faces now have names thanks to helpful comments by olio-gallimaufry ] [ Update 2 : Included image of one of the earliest presenters, Gopal Kaul. Send in generously from personal collection by son, Ashutosh Kaul. Sept, 2010.] [ Major Update 3: Got a tip-off about a documentary about the famous faces of Doordarshan from the makers   of     “The Golden Trail , DD@50 :Special feature on Golden Jubilee of Doordarshan ” from which these caps were taken. I managed to catch the incredible documentary and am adding some more faces/name and part of the docu here. New ones can be found after the image of  Narotam Puri. 30th Oct, 2010]  Pratima Puri. Believed to be the first Doordarshan reader.

Indian Cigarette Vintage Ads

He put a cigarette in his mouth and, as a matter of silent routine, offered one to Gwyn, who said ‘No thanks.”Richard looked at him.”I packed it in.”"You what?”"I stopped. Three days ago. Cold. That’s it. You just make the life choice.” Richard looked up and inhaled needfully. He gazed at his cigarette. He didn’t really want to smoke it. He wanted to eat it. Almost the only thing that he still liked about Gwyn was that he still smoked…Paradoxically, he no longer wanted to give up smoking: what he wanted to do was take up smoking. Not so much to fill the little gaps between cigarettes with cigarettes (there wouldn’t be time, anyway) or to smoke two cigarettes at once. It was more that he felt the desire to smoke a cigarette even when he was smoking a cigarette. The need was and wasn’t being met… While it would always be true and fair to say that Richard felt like a cigarette, it would now be doubly true and fair to say it. He felt like a cigarette. And he felt like a cig

Operation Topaz

In around 1983, General Zia ul-Haq was thinking about "a thousand cuts", "Blood"  and "India". In around 1989, Operation Topaz to destabilize India was set in motion even as Zia had everyone trust  the merits of cricket diplomacy. Zia could well have been thinking of a shaving blade when he thought up that name - Operation Topaz. Image courtesy: . 75 year old C.K Devassy has been collecting blades for last 55 years and his awsome collection  includes more than 60 blade brands from around 10 countries incuding India, USA, England and even China. -0- Topaz presents T.M. Bihari's Professor Pyarelal Image courtesy: Eatern Eye Zeenat Aman is looking for the 1 rupee coin that fell from her hand while Dharmendra was driving crazy to keep the bad guys at bay.