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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.

My Friend Sancho

My first book, My Friend Sancho, was published in May 2009, and went on to become the biggest selling debut novel released that year in India. It is a contemporary love story set in Mumbai, and had earlier been longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2008. To learn more about the book, click here.

If you're interested, do join the Facebook group for My Friend Sancho

Click here for more about my publisher, Hachette India.

My posts on India Uncut about My Friend Sancho can be found here.

Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

Recent entries

On Winning the Bastiat Prize for Journalism

I was fortunate a few days ago to win the Bastiat Prize for Journalism for the second time. The prize…

The Asuras Have Taken Over

As today is apparently Constitution Day, here’s a thought from the great BR Ambedkar, who is considered the chief architect…

All Your Base

Munna Kumar Sharma, the national secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha, has said about Aamir Khan: If not move to Pakistan,…

It Strikes Me That…

... an essay about a selfie is itself a selfie of sorts. I wonder here, what would be more narcissistic…

The Image of the Country

So how has the government reacted to Aamir Khan’s recent comments about the growing intolerance in India? Rediff reports: The…

21 December, 2007

The Nude Bodies of Ranbir Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan

Many years ago, when I was a child, I picked up a foreign film magazine my father had left lying around. It contained a review of my then-favourite film, Dead Poet’s Society. I began reading it, and discovered that the reviewer was clearly writing about a different Dead Poet’s Society than the one I’d seen. It took me a while to realise that the review was about the same film, which was, according to the reviewer, a film about repressed homosexuality, filled with charged homo-eroticism. That was my first introduction to a genre of movie reviewing that picks up a film and reads into it meanings and subtexts that would baffle even the director and the scriptwriter.

Nitin points me to a recent example of such a review (pdf file), which focuses on Om Shanti Om and Saawariya, and examines how “the spectacular and stylish nude male bodies and images of both Ranbir Raj Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan, though very different from each other, were the prime objects of desire and erotic spectacle.” On Ranbir’s body, it says:

It is a body that represents an outside figure, which operates freely, beyond the spatial, bodily and moral bounds of society, offering pleasure to all. His striptease act, along with his erotic moving body symbolise a changing sexual culture. The representation of the male body itself becomes subversive in certain ways.

And now Shah Rukh’s body:

The nude body of Shahrukh in OSO may also be seen as a visual iconography with sexual meanings, operating in a pleasure economy, and being an icon of “permissiveness”. His performative act in the song “Dard-E-Disco” is principally centred on the male body, symbolising a different erotic genre.

I would love to know what Farah Khan has to say about that. And Gauri, for that matter. Hell, even Karan.

The article concludes:

The embodied performances in the two songs particularly, to a degree subvert notions of a dominant male gaze, mutate hegemonic masculinity, question neat heteronormative categories, and undermine prescribed gender spaces and fixed gendered representations.

Apropos of nothing, let me point you to one of my favourite essays by Richard Dawkins, Postmodernism Disrobed.

Update: Gaspode tells us:

The ontology of the dominant episteme encoding the patriarchal construct of “sex with love” and “sex without love” is emergent in the hermeneutics of the intertextuality of Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty” and John Mayer’s “Your Body is a Wonderland”. Both songs, released in 2002 attempt to challenge and subvert each other.

It’s a parody, of course—though I only know it because Gaspode is a friend and I know his tendencies. Some people write stuff like this seriously.

Posted by Amit Varma in Arts and entertainment | Journalism | Media | WTF

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