Verve Magazine, Nerve, July 2010
The camera is taking a different turn – it’s moving towards the male body as an object of adulation, aspiration and desire
They are splashing half-naked men all over to tantalise the homely Indian woman.
If it wasn’t enough that Hrithik Roshan was brutally declothed and exposed to a rather heavily-breathing female audience in his latest debacle Kites, what was far more revealing was the way the camera panned his body – from the tightly-packed muscled abs and the pumping veins in his neck, to the finely chiselled face and the flaring nostrils, to the slight tensing in the taut abdomen right above where his well-fitting Calvin Klein briefs began and imagination slid downward. The camera stayed put. Our minds didn’t. It’s fun, you admit, until it becomes adulatory. Men are lovely, especially lovely men, but in all the right doses. Cameras making love to men’s bodies and the bodies responding in kind is soft porn in the making, when actually you just want a healthy dose of flashing progesterone. Sometimes, less is tantalisingly more.
Then the shy young gentleman, who we politely thought would make for interesting eye candy were he to shed his cute tees, gamely went ahead and did just that. Workouts, unpalatable food and some dedication later…catch any of the promos for his new rom-com I Hate Luv Storys? We couldn’t – we were too busy checking out gleeful aunties, pushing the prince-nez further up their haughty noses running amock, delighted with this new potential cradle-snatch, and tweens and teens knocking themselves out in a frenzy. Imran Khan, who is seen lying wantonly on a black leather sofa in nothing but slithery track pants, may have just ranked himself from ‘chocolate boy’ to ‘sexy young thing’. So despite having the very good-looking Sonam Kapoor and the sultry Bruna Abdullah in the movie, producer Karan Johar chooses to flash the body of the male factor in the promos!
Shahid Kapoor, meanwhile, tried very hard to garner some attention in Badmaash Company, as he appears more self-obsessed, but he couldn’t quite steal the attention from pretty Anushka Sharma’s new barely-clothed avatar. Women still rule the roost, but the men are out to give them some thrust for their bodies aplenty. We, the audience, just sit back and enjoy the competitive foreplay.
CARESSED BY THE CAMERA
Cinematographer Ayananka Bose, 30, director of photography (DoP) for the recently-released Kites and the upcoming I Hate Luv Storys, says:
“Male actors have never been this image conscious but then again physical appearances have never been this important in establishing a brand. Their bodies are their brand ambassadors. It not only portrays the actor with greater sex appeal but it also inspires the audience to think of their personal physique and fitness, establishing a deeper connection with the audience…often leading to adulation.
The camera is an integral extension of the DoP’s vision that is guided by the director’s requirement. You strive to make the visual look stylish, beautiful and most importantly flow within the theme of the story. This rule applies across the entire spectrum from animate and inanimate to things male and female!
If there is a perfect understanding between the director and the DoP we most often end up with an edited version that is good for both – seeing that we always shoot more than what might be needed. In my opinion, the union of a director and a DoP is much like the union of a husband and a wife.”