From the sublime, it has become smutty and rules the screen as a carnal carnival. Aesthetic values have been consigned to the dustbin. If the directors in the past treated sex as if it did not exist, the present ones do as if nothing else does!

Whereas in the past, the hero and the heroine conveyed fair speechless messages through eyes, now they are showing the “act” in dim blue lights (“.Satyam Shivam Sundaram”) or in daylight as in “Jaanbaaz .

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Culture decays when it is swayed by the masses. This is mob pandering. “Mob” is a version of “mobile vulgus” – the rabble on the move.

Hindi “popular” cinema has become the stronghold of the lowbrow. The battle is won by the “mob”. The carnival culture has captured the mind. Our tastes are trashed.

A study conducted by Harpriya Sandhu, a student of the Mass Communication Department of Punjab University, has revealed that a majority of college going students of Chandigarh do not consider Hindi films “vulgar” and feels that there is no need for censorship other than what exists today.

Love was once a pure emotion. The lovers did not kiss – two flowers did it for them. Symbols were used for the depiction of sex. A rape scene was symbolized by cracks in mirror. Birds cooing were symbolic of lovers wooing. Furious and frothing waves of the sea stood for passion. These codes, though banal, were simple and intelligible to the common man.

Then came the movie muck-merchants who shed the shackles. So did the stars. Today you have Pooja Bhatt appearing sans clothes (only painted) on the cover page of a film magazine. The “Kamasutra” girl Pooja Bedi boasted that she had a beautiful body. Why not display it? Mamta Kulkarni “outclassed” them.

“Sexy, sexy” Karishma Kapoor – “kachra of the Kapoor khandaan”, in Papa Randhir’s words – has set new records in lewdness and depravity. Contrast it. Waheeda Rehman once refused to wear a sleeveless blouse, pleading that it would shock her fans Sridevi has recently said that dance directors dare not ask her to perform dirty dances.

In the past, films dealt with sensitive situations with polish, without being pliant. Mehboob and others treated romantic themes with cinematic understatement. In “Gopinath”, wet rings – marks of glasses on the table showed drunkenness. In “Amar”, the rape was suggestive. Raj Kapoor was quite restrained in “Aah”. V. Shantaram, though known for sensuousness in dance numbers, was not indecent.

B.R. Chopra, a respectable filmmaker, unleashed the devil by introducing two prolonged rape scenes in “Insaaf ka Tarazu”. Sadistic and graphic, they warmed up man in unaesthetic film-makers.

Shammi Kapoor set the trend in “dirty” dancing. He used his entire body as a phallic symbol. Shammi, however, did not lift his “kurta” a la Govinda. The present crop of actors is a degenerated Shammi clone without his grace, style and handsomeness.

Govinda, who pathetically apes Shammi Kapoor, is an ace non-actor. Imitation is justified only when you outclass the original. A lady teacher angrily asks, “Is it for this kind of acting our stars gets crores of rupees?”

Govinda’s gestures and “acting in song dance sequences in the recent “Raja Babu” will make you throw up. Pray, do we have censors? A well-known film producer once said: “Who cares? Let them cut out any part they like, later at the release of the film, “I will incorporate them.”

The song and dance sequences picturised on these”actors” are sexual acrobatics. They are cabarets by bhands. The difference is that in a live cabaret, the dancer sheds clothes whereas in these films, the hero and the heroine shed inhibitions. The “sexy-sexy” girl says she has done all these in “innocence”. What innocence!

Today’s heroine is inhibition-free. Moon Moon Sen said in a Doordarshan interview about revealing dresses: “This is my way of dressing. What’s wrong in it?”

Scanty blouses, exposing midriff, transparent and outlandish outfits are now no longer taboo. They are prelude to nudity. Deepa Sahi, in husband Ketan Mehta’s, “Maya Memsahib”, shed clothes without inhibitions. Most actresses say that they have no objection to revealing if the story.

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