Representation of Gender and Female Sexuality: An Analysis of Selected âControversialâ Hindi Films of the 21st century
India is one of the world’s largest film-producing and film-viewing nations. Yet, very little focus has been placed on the subject on the female gender and their sexuality. This research paper focuses on films like Deepa Mehta’s Fire (1996), Shonali Bose’s Margarita With a Straw (2015), Leena Yadav’s Parched (2016), Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under my Burkha (2017) dealing with the ‘taboo’ cis-female sexuality. These films received immense criticism and backlash for choosing to subvert the gaze and focusing on controversial things like masturbation, homo-sexual love and sexuality in ‘differently-abled’, hetrosexual sex workers, the meaning of a woman’s sexual consent and sex beyond the constraints of marriage. These films reflect the Indian woman’s unrestrained exploration of her sexuality along with the intersections of Class, Gender and Patriarchy. The reason for taking these films is their unflinching approach of putting female sexual desire at their forefront and allows their female protagonists to breathe as independent sexual creatures. The researcher also tries to show how the nuancing patriarchy or the hetero-patriarchy couldn’t ‘veil’ these 'women' characters. The paper aims at starting a dialogue about the subject, to push the existing boundaries and think beyond the prescribed ‘norm’.