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Ooooh, Those Unique Lovemaking Scenes

Subhash K . Jha

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  Unique love scenes in films  are like scoops of eternity…never to be lost. Never to be collected in  a  clasp… only in a gasp.

   When I watched  the sumptuous sensuality  of  Rob Marshall’s Memoirs Of A  Geisha  it became  progressively clear that international cinema  careens more and  more towards  Oriental expressions of  emotions, specially love.

   Watch that last elegiac  moment of stolen tenderness between  Ziyi Zhang and  Ken Watanabe where he tells  her  he has loved her ever since he saw her as a little girl. It could be  a moment out of Yash Chopra’s way-ahead-of-times Lamhe

    Or it could be  that heart-stopping moment in  Black where   the blind and deaf  Michelle asks her teacher to make her feel like  a woman.

 Such complexities of  expression tend   to transpose  the  rites of love-making  away from  a level  of  eroticism  to a plane of spiritualism.

As  the ultra-romantic Gulzar says, “Love starts with the physical and then  moves beyond the body.”

  Hindi cinema  has been doing that quite regularly. My favourite love scene would  have to be the ‘More piya’  raas-leela  song sequence in Sanjay Bhansali’s Devdas. The  way  the camera caressed the contours  of  the divine-erotic love lyric,  the splash of  water,   the swish of  the veil being pulled off  and  the impact of  the camera as it heaved and swayed like a boat in a turbulent emotion….they all added to  Shah Rukh  and Aishwarya’s sensuous presence.

   This  was  a far more electrifying moment  of  love than the over-rated Dilip Kumar-Madhubala ‘like-feather-like-song’  frolic   in  Mughal-e-Azam….

     I find  a similar aura of tense romanticism  in  recent Hollywood films. Check out the  looks—oh , those smouldering looks!—which  Joaquin Phoenix  throws at Reese Witherspoon  in  Walk The Line….Or  that great on-screen chemistry  that Jim Carrey  and Tea Leoni share  in Fun  With Dick & Jane.

  Didn’t  Dick and Jane remind you of our own Bunty and  Babli?    Didn’t Abhishek Bachchan  in  Bluff Master  remind you of  Will Smith in Hitch? And didn’t Abhishek in  Dus remind you of Will Smith  in Bad Boys?

Didn’t  Nana Patekar  and  John Abraham  in   Taxi No 9211 remind you  of   Jamie Fox and  Tom Cruise in   Collateral?  And didn’t  the Telugu star Siddharth in  Rakeysh Mehra’s extraordinary Rang De Basanti remind  you of  the tycoon’s  son  in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons where  the  conscience-stricken  son  shoots himself dead after  he discovers his dad had been selling those faulty  spare parts  to  the army aircrafts that killed  a soldier.

 Familiar terrain…Though Rakeysh has no clue about All My Sons.

    This healthy give-and-take  of  ideas between Bollywood and Hollywood has now come to a place where  cinema from the two disaparate worlds can  have the same face.

         Is Hollywood becoming more and more like Indian cinema? …This is the thought that raced through my mind  while watching  the  new Netflix  flick  Otherhood where three mothers  set out to reconnect with their selfabsorbed  sons.In   Memoirs Of A Geisha. The mounting of  the story could be  Muzaffar Ali’s Umrao Jaan, the sumptuous   colours  were  from   Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas, the poetic lyricism  seemed derived  from Kamal Amrohi’s Pakeezah  and     the raw hurting   realism  about gender equations came from   MadhurBhandarkar’s Chandni Bar.

One sees all of these  in the exquisite literary adaptation that’s Memoirs Of A Geisha. This isn’t  the first time in  recent movie-viewing experiences that  we have come away with the feeling that  Hollywood is getting more and more Oriental in its depiction  of family values and in understanding the layerings that linger in  the search of  family ties.

 I had seen moments  in that excellent biopic on the life of blues singer Ray Charles which could’ve been straight out of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black…These had to do with  the responses of  the blind young  protagonist  trying to come to terms with his  blindness.

 A mother in  distress about her handicapped child’s future or a sister grappling with her sibling’s illness  ..isn’t that what Black and 15 Park Avenue were about? Now watch Toni Colette  and Cameron Diaz  do the sister angst  in  In Her Shoes….   More than  ever , the West seems to  value those very  emotions that Indian cinema  seemed to be losing out on.

       For a while now Indian  filmmakers  had become almost apologetic about  displaying our cultural roots  on screen.

 No more. We as a  nation producing the largest number of films can gush at  Geisha because we  know that story  of  a  little girl who was kidnapped into a brothel  and groomed into growing up to be  a poised sex worker.

  J.P. Dutta  called her Umrao Jaan.  And it’s no coincidence that the poetic tawaif is played by the international face of Indian cinema.

     Rob Marshall Saab, Aapki kya ‘Rai’  hai?

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