It’s no surprise that Bollywood movies add songs or sequences sexualising the female body throughout the film. They add these scenes like salt and pepper to the movie. It adds nothing to the plot except arousing the male audience at the expense of the female body. The latest teaser of Fighter featuring Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone is a classic example of this phenomenon.
Fighter promises to be like Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick and the film kind of reminds you of that. There are breathtaking aerial action sequences, men strutting around in aviators, and a plethora of nail-biting sequences that make it a high-octane action thriller. But amidst it all, there are random sequences that show Hrithik and Deepika romancing each other; to say the least.
When you are trying to sell an action film, maybe don’t do that by using the female body . These sequences where Deepika is clad in a swimsuit present the woman as an object to lust over. It adds nothing extra. We know the main reason is to “entertain” the audience by objectifying Deepika’s body and nothing else. Speaking objectively, Deepika and Hrithik make a really hot pair and people are anticipating that their chemistry will be off the roofs.
And I agree. When you place two extremely stunning actors together whom the Almighty has carved in its full glory, the result is bound to be this. Understandably the director wants to celebrate their “hotness”, but that again is done by needlessly sexualizing the female body. We know Deepika is hot, we know Hrithik is hot; but are these sequences adding anything to the plot?
Let’s also talk about Pathaan which is made by the same director and stars Deepika Padukone. The song, Besharam Rang, opens with the actress seductively biting a strawberry. Can we just let fruits be, please? Not just that shot, but the entire song caters to the male gaze.
On one hand, Deepika looks absolutely jaw-dropping in her bikinis but you can see that every shot sexualises every inch of her body. This includes even the choreography which includes moves where she gyrates her body.
You can celebrate someone’s hotness without reducing them to an object for men to ravage. That is what the male gaze reduces the female body to.
Some would argue that hey, even SRK was shirtless in one shot.
However, if you have watched Pathaan put your hand on your heart and tell me if this objectification of the two actors was necessary. If that wasn’t all, there is a shot where Deepika looks into the camera and takes off her sarong.
Siddharth Anand tries to show these sequences as liberating. But it comes from a position of male gaze. Rather than celebrating bodies, it reduces them to mere sexualizing and objectification and the song just comes across as an “item number” with no real value. Maybe it’s time mainstream directors move past this problematic trend.