(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Reuters)
A couple of weeks ago, I watched a Marathi film called "Balak Palak" (Children and Parents). A new crop of film-makers is portraying the burgeoning Indian middle class with its own set of problems and "Balak Palak" is no different.
Director Ravi Jadhav chronicles the lives of four school students and their first encounter with adult literature and how it alters their friendship. In the background is middle-class morality, which prevents parents from talking openly about the birds and the bees with their children, considers any such talk "dirty" but is clueless about dealing with their curiosity.
Jadhav narrates the story beautifully and despite its subject, “Balak Palak” never goes into sleazy territory. I couldn’t help but think of another film I watched recently. "Dabangg 2" has an item number in which the heroine refers to herself as a piece of tandoori chicken, to be washed down with alcohol.
Bollywood, much like the huge middle class it counts as its audience, has never quite been able to deal with sex. It prefers to avoid it (for many years, an image of two flowers pressed together meant the hero and heroine were going to "do it") or commercialise it to such an extent that sex and sexuality are given a sleazy veneer, something to be ogled at or spoken of in whispers.