The digital medium has given filmmakers and writers the freedom to tell their stories unabashedly and evade the much hated word- ‘censorship’. When makers realised that the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) would not be butting in with their sanskaari suggestions on the web, they became edgier in their storytelling. However, Salman Khan seems to disagree. When asked if he would like to join the digital bandwagon in a group interview, he said,
"Web series is fine but the content should be clean. I don’t like all that rubbish that is going on. I have been approached and I have not said no. I will produce web content but it is going to be Hum Aapke Hai Kaun type." - Salman Khan, Actor
He also added that he would like to produce content that’s kid friendly. Well, no harm in that, why shouldn't there be interesting content for children? Agreed. But why the sudden moral compass when it comes to web series. Salman doesn't seem to be very different from the CBFC though, just like them he seems to think misogyny and violence which are aplenty in his films is completely okay. But sex? No way.
What one must keep in mind is that whatever content we consume should seem right within the context presented. So if your show is about people and their dynamics, isn’t it obvious that there will be physical intimacy?
What’s more problematic is that for years, Salman’s films have had minuscule parts for females, mostly relegated to being the love interest and of very little consequence to the story. Barring Anushka Sharma in Sultan, I can’t remember the last time a female character in a Salman film registered in my mind. We can probably excuse some of his horrendous choices earlier, with films like Tere Naam where he’s emotionally and physically abusing the woman he loves, or in Judwaa where he was smacking a girl’s butt, but what’s his excuse now?
You can’t have a holier than thou attitude when the themes of your films aren’t really propagating the most progressive attitudes. Recently in Race 3, Jacqueline Fernandez and Daisy Shah didn't have much to do other than just some acrobatics. Most of films also have the staple item number- ‘Munni Badnaam’, ‘Fevicol Se’, ‘Yaar Na Miley’ to name a few. These songs had voyeuristic camera work, with cheap lyrics like ‘main tandoori murgh soon, gatka le alcohol se’(I’m like a piece of chicken, can be consumed with some alcohol...what the hell?) Very “clean” right?
You might think that this is common place in Bollywood, and unfortunately it is. But when the subliminal messaging of your film is problematic- a cocktail of casual sexism and violence, then why make tall claims about making “clean” films. The web is reflective of the times we live in, things that the movies don't catch on to and there is of course a need to be responsible, but be clear what it’s about. Shakespeare wrote some of the darkest stories, but the messaging was crystal clear- you were scared of darkness. Get the gist, Salman?
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