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Desi Fifty Shades of Grey, 'Maaya' by Vikram Bhatt is a bold insult to women

Sreemoyee Piu Kundu
Sreemoyee Piu KunduJan 19, 2017 | 16:19

Desi Fifty Shades of Grey, 'Maaya' by Vikram Bhatt is a bold insult to women

My second book, Sita’s Curse, released in 2014, close on the heels of the mega bestseller, Fifty Shades of Grey, by EL James. I remember reading the sexually loaded trilogy just so that I could answer questions on the likelihood that I had penned an erotica to be as famous or popular as James.

The way I couldn’t quite get over the nauseating feeling of boredom and sexual sameness when page after page there were lurid descriptions of BDSM – which honestly was a new thing in sexually staid India, even as behind closed doors, domestic violence has emerged as the single-largest crime against women in the country.

In 2013, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported over 1,18,000 domestic violence cases, which made up a third of all crimes against women, far ahead of molestation (70,739) and rape (33,707). The number of reported domestic violence cases also shot up from a mere 50,703 in 2003 before the passage of the Domestic Violence Act of 2005.

But before you think this is a spiel on the spiralling rate of marital rape, that the honourable Supreme Court still prefers to pussy-foot about and lacks the spine to decriminalise - let me make it clear, this post is about none other than Vikram Bhatt - who true to his surname, is the self-proclaimed king of horror and sleaze - much like his bold predecessor Ram Gopal Varma.

So on January 27, Bhatt is all set to launch his web series debut with a desi adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey, titled, but naturally, Maaya. I happened to watch the first trailer of the same just a few minutes ago, and was completely miffed if this is meant to be soft porn, in which case I swear I didn’t touch myself even once. Except for wondering whether he would copy the original story and its Hollywood film, released in 2015 so completely, then why on Earth would he have the heroine, TV star ShamaSikander - making her comeback after a long period - suffer from something such as retrograde amnesia which, just for the record, is a loss of memory-access to events that occurred, or information that was learned, before an injury or the onset of a disease.

Also, Bhatt takes a chance at alleged "boldness", by making Shama a married woman - given that married women are mostly seen and represented as asexual in this country, unless you fall in the Savita Bhabhi lot - which translated means Horny Housewife, something that our Karva Chauth and Shivratri-observing virginal, milk glass-holding, ghunghat-clad and chura-clamouring desi bahus will never want to be categorised as – because let’s face it, who has ever heard the voice of a married woman in India - saying for instance that she loves a blow job - getting one, I mean, and hates the doggy thingy, or that she’d like her man shaved and smelling like a million bucks.

For Bhatt, BDSM offers him a dark, dirty, desirous place to tease our suppressed senses – I mean, given we can’t even claim to loving self-pleasure, or that we secretly ordered a vibrator online at a sex toys' website, and fantasise of being fondled in a strawberry-flavoured edible G-string, with our hands tied to the bedpost, perhaps.

Hence Bhatt’s visual orgy begins with the overpowering voice of a man spelling out BDSM for beginners as, “bondage, domination, sadism and masochism". The need for one person to control and the other to surrender. The world of BDSM, as Shama’s character is shown bound, gagged and spanked with a riding crop.

None of the images honestly stir up any sensuality - because somewhere they are so damn stereotyped - white sheets, a woman in the throes of passion, her mouth half open and fake eyelashes, stainless steel handcuffs, silhouette of a woman’s buttocks and a spank with sound effects, hugely ugly silver stilettoes and the oh-so-sexist words, "you are a submissive and I am a dominant".

To which the kap kapati, wasna mein lipt, heroine answers in a diminutive voice, "I like being controlled by someone else. I want someone to hurt me," interspersed with her being penetrated from the rear, her neck being bitten and of course, the favourite, the satin black blindfold.

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And just when the front-seaters, in this case, your driver or carpenter who just bought a smartphone, has loosened his pajama nada, comes the Bollywoodesque (actually more Ekta Kapoorish) twist in the saga - the entry of the goody-two-shoes pati parmeshwar, who is told by a grim-faced lady doctor that it’s his duty as a spouse to unravel "her secret desire".

Thus culminating in a saga of vengeance and double-crossing, that soon degenerates into shrill tu tu mein mein - a hormonal overdrive that is built on the fragile foundation of a woman’s infidelity - and if she can go f*** someone, she might as well be f****d over!

What’s pitiable and perhaps predictable is the patriarchal leaning of the maker Vikram Bhatt who, as a fellow author spilled the beans recently, has also signed up to write an "erotica" series on a soon-to-be-launched mobile reading app - the way he reduces his protagonist to a whimpering sex slave who craves to be tantalised, tied and tasted, but can’t be herself in a marriage that is obviously as dull as most are in this country, ironically spilling over with the world’s largest population.

So, all she can do is pen a secret, suggestive blog and masturbate, with that same ole, same ole, guilt-ridden face and is petrified of being slut-shamed as a sexual pervert.

When she cries copiously on discovering that her ideal husband is having an affair when she’s having a sexless, memory-less meltdown, even as the husband grits his teeth and insists it’s plain revenge sex - what we are doing is dumbing down BDSM and the average Indian woman/housewife to a sex-starved, sexually subservient bimbo who can’t even climb on top or insist on variety, and must bear the price of desire – a word that Bhatt bastardises, and how! Female desire, in particular.

Last updated: January 19, 2017 | 16:25
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