Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sex and Our Cities....

This appeared in The week. Please treat it as the promised review. Slightly late... but what the hell!
********

Agreed, SATC-2 shot in Abu Dhabi was a bit of a turkey, and even the super stylish gal pals clad in designer harem pants, floaty caftans and ridiculous head gear, couldn’t salvage the move from box office disaster. But I have to confess I enjoyed it, much to my daughters’ collective amazement (the girls found it seriously dumb). ‘What is there to like?” they asked. “A lot!” I answered, a trifle defensively. And I heard a man groan, “ Dude… do I really want to know about a woman’s hot flashes or listen to her menopausal rantings?” Well, why not? SATC has always gone into uncharted territory, be it a woman’s confusion about her sexual urges, her mixed feelings about having kids, her dryness ‘down there’, her fears of rejection on account of her small breasts, her reluctance to get into a committed relationship … even her odd PMS conduct. It was always out there in the popular television series, and later in the movies that followed the rather complex love\sex\ professional lives of four feisty females in New York. Just the fact that these couture-clad Manhattan chicks with all their combined neuroses managed to connect with regular women across the world, was a big enough signal heralding major change.
This is not as superficial as it sounds. While watching the latest SATC at my favourite multiplex, I was busy scanning the packed auditorium to see who was laughing and at which jokes. Interestingly, the film opens with an elaborate gay wedding sequence with Carrie playing the best man. Her husband (Mr. Big, if you please!), cracks several politically incorrect jokes about gays, and it’s okay to do it – yes – just as movies crack jokes about other minorities. Nobody is spared these days – Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians. So why treat gays with kid gloves? This openness is entirely welcome and it was good to see so many gays in the audience laughing with everybody else. That’s confidence.
Two weeks later, I was at a lunch with a mixed group of professionals who happened to be discussing SATC avidly. One of the men said he had learned so much about women from SATC – their really, really personal secrets and sexual foibles that men rarely get a chance to figure out on their own. He claimed that as a student in America during the heyday of the tv series, he would watch Carrie and her friends closely to pick up a few cues about dating on campus. Later in life, when he decided to get married, and the SATC ladies had also moved on to dealing with domesticity, he was glued once again to their new selves as they negotiated various marital hurdles. He gave the example of Carrie’s failed wedding the first time round, when the wedding preparations turned into a public circus and became much bigger than the ceremony itself. It reminded him of his own despair as he watched his bride-to-be getting caught in the familiar trap of staging a full on ‘designer wedding’ at which the two of them would be reduced to playing puppets in ridiculously extravagant couture.
Similarly, I exchanged notes with a few post-menopausal friends who had chortled and choked through the accurately hilarious scenes featuring the 50-plus sexual predator Samantha popping a cocktail of multi coloured pills to balance her yo yo-ing hormones. There was another telling scene which showed Samantha hastily applying a lubricating cream to her private parts before setting out on a date. Too personal? Too gross?? Of course! But… hey …. too true, too!
Would a desi SATC work in India? Nope. I remember being asked to write a pilot for a major channel a few years ago. I did take a crack at it – but the female boss baulked at what I thought was a pretty tame version of the original. She was right. It would never have worked. We want our own lives to be presented in a sanitized, air brushed way – like none of this ever happens to us. We don’t want to acknowledge that our urban selves are not all that different from Carrie or Samantha or Charlotte or Miranda. Well, let me tell you we have them all in our vibrant society. Only, we want to pretend they don’t exist. Which is also why our top rated soaps today celebrate rural ‘values’ and applaud child marriage along with other ‘traditional’ virtues. India is way too hypocritical to own up to its own Carrie Bradshaws. But show me one local fashionista who wouldn’t want to be in her Louboutins!

27 comments:

A. K. said...

My girl loved that movie. Unfortunately its was pure two hours of torture to me. I don't know why I sign up for that! LOL! It was a good movie but i love fantasy themed movies more. Have a great day

hAAthi said...

spot on about the indian mind set and hypocrisy!

goodluck said...

Our sanitised soaps may have many faults but it will not increase the number of rapes. If we have western type of shows,middleclass families will stop viewing TVs and they have to close down. People like you are a miniscule minority who spend more time hopping continents than watching television on a regular basis. So television will never care. So be content to watch your favourite sitcoms produced in LA. And lastly, we are still not mature enough for these shows on a full scale.

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

हिंदी उच्चारण करना plz...

sudipta pal said...

The auspicious celebration of Rakhi is on Tuesday, 24th August 2010. It’s the perfect time to celebrate the special bond of a brother and sister. Perk up the lives of your loved ones with our wonderful Rakhi gifts for delivery throughout the world. For details, visit www.rakhiworldwide.com.

Mehak said...

love this last line of yours:
"India is way too hypocritical to own up to its own Carrie Bradshaws."
i didnt get a chance to see the movie but im eagerly awaiting the dvd now..

siddhant said...

Hey everyone ,please have a look at my blog for opera internship.Please vote for me to let an Indian avail this internship.

http://my.opera.com/iamsid/blog/am-i-the-one

Sameer said...

I can not agree more on Indian's hypocrite nature over so called "Indian or traditional" values...we have tons of Carrie Bradshaws and almost all the characters SATC has, but we Indians are not brave enough to accept it. My neice who is living in Mumbai on her own, studying fashion and is so "today" girl -- but she could not connect herself with our TV's and movies...most of them are so rooted to our fake traditions and values....it's high time we Indians start owning our identities...

Divya Virmani said...

Ms. De, I absolutely love all your articles but quite disagree with this one. Our country does not want to grow up in a way where sex is shown so openly. Our ancestors are just fine w/ the rural soap operas. We can ridicule it as much as we want but atleast this portrays that we still have the Indian values hidden inside us. SATC should remain in US only, where the dawn of the day starts w/ Sex topics and ends at sex. Even the radio channel I listen to in the morning discusses about sex and only sex.
http://divyavirmani.blogspot.com/

ameya said...

woo hoo
I love you for liking the movie
I liked it too .... didnt love it as much as the series .... just liked it

Meenakshi said...

Ma'am ,
The ISB Women in Business Club would love to have you for a speaker session. The Indian School of Business is ranked 12th worldwide and has affliation with Kellogg and Wharton .
Please let me know if you are interested at meenakshi.ganesh87@gmail.com
Hope to hear from you ...
Meenakshi

krutika said...

the fault is on us..we reject mallik sherawat for aishwarya rai.all of us know that this current size zero fixation, nd showing off the bod evrything started with mallika.
what we now have is absolutely disguting, bunch of skinny girls, with fake boops supposedly modern cuz they wear short skirts and traditional cuz they happen to be virgins...if only all these actors and actresses would show their true self....
they try to crate tis ideal image of a women, in India woman are alwyas potrayed as beautifl, extremely intelligent,...great body, very career diven and laso loyal lover, home maker material some kind of an object..as if our issues end with hsband and family problems .

PS said...

No wonder you represent 0.0001 % population.

Latha said...

I wouldn't want to be in louboutins & keep my heels lifted 8" all the time. Yes, we are obsessed with fairness & ht. I'd prefer platform chappals instead & be comfortably myself.
No, thanx to louboutins.

Eidothia said...

I was hoping to hear what you liked about the movie per se. But you liked the spirit that SATC represented. Nostalgia itself couldnt salvage the film for me.
I went to see what you spoke of here and have a laugh here and there. I came out at interval nodding my head in mourning at another big miss which could have been!

Sudhir Kekre said...

Hey Divya, I have lived in USA for almost a decade now and i can tell you that the perception that americans live on sex is not true. Not all!They too have family values like you and me. its just that they are mature about sex but not necessarily promiscuous.we are hypocrites when it comes to sex.we do all that they do but like to project a very antiseptic and clean image.

Sidhusaaheb said...

The first word that comes to mind, when I think of the TV series or the films, is 'vacuous'.

ms said...

okay, mz de. we do not seem to be watching the same indian tv soaps: child marriages, yes, but also multiple partners within the same family, multiple marriages, children out of wedlock! where are the shrinking violets and simpering virgins, i aks you! the whole country is in the grip of elopements, extramarital affairs, the morning-after-pill tv ads, women enjoying "happy periods", and we still have tv women getting prego after one dalliance! and SITC is a reality even though our chemists are not stocking up on KY gels and personal hygiene products! you mean to say that an indian version of SITC will be too much for the nation's sensibilities? waat naaansens!! with our baba sexinanda and baba itchydhaari grabbing the headlines all the time, i don't think we have an innocent-babe-in-the-woods citizen left in the hemisphere. bring on SITC please! but we may call it "sheheron mein shaaririk sambandh" - SMSS. your opinions, pliss

sonal said...

mS, FOR ONE iNDIAN AUDIENCES WOULD BE HORRIFIED WAS SUCH A FILM TO BE MADE GIVEN OUR VERY DEsi values and desi mindset! The moral brigade would be out for sure!I t6hink our Tv serials ARE A good indication of how women would like to be viewed by the general populace.And truly there is quite a discoonnect in India between the rural, small towns and urban mindset!
But coming baCK TO U mS. dE, a well written piece about one of the most talked about mivies in Hollywood!

Atif said...

What a post! I wish I could post like you. Nice gud job! :).

Hi! frndz plzz must visit here

computer solution visit here okkay!
thnk U!

www.Lmobile10.blogspot.com

tsering said...

In a country where IZAAT = sexuality, how can any women appear less than chaste?

tsering said...

In a country where IZAAT = sexuality, how can any women appear less than chaste?

shemalejasmin said...

Indian cities, school, streets everywhere, it is dirty! ? whats about the Indian government?
IPL money-laundering scandal threatens Indian government ??
http://merabharatmahanindia.blogspot.com/

Ms. Food 4 Thought said...

Hi Shobhaa,

While I found SATC2 distasteful and offensive, I have been a huge fan of the SATC series and the first movie. The girls have, indeed, educated not only a significant portion of women and men in America, but made it acceptable to talk about all topics under the sun, in most places around the world.

What I am sad about, is that the girls' undying loyalty to their friends didn't transfer to the modern generation. I see too many females disposing of close female friends for guys/careers/over small misunderstandings.

Also, a desi SATC wouldn't work for the moment, until women are more comfortable with themselves. Working in New York, sometimes I feel Americans do over share, but in general, there is an openness that Indians still lack for keeping up "face".

Love your blog - I'm a fan. And KUDOS for calling IHLS for the dumb crap that it is. Too bad Sonam is too big for her boots, heard she was like that when she was at my school in Singapore, too.

Buzzintown Blogger said...

'Would a desi SATC work in India? Nope'

It would be a complete disaster...
Wish we rise above Ekta Kapoor's saas-bahu soaps.


Regards
Udaan movie review
Tere Bin Laden synopsis plot
Lamhaa movie review

Rads said...

So today I was showing my friend my new SATC screensaver and told her their should be an Indian version of SATC. She sent me this post and I loved it! Being Indian, a huge SATC fan, and someone who is in the communications field - before I even read the article I thought about all the issues that could come up with it. And everything you wrote is so true.

My friend and I started talking about the mentality and how it's so odd, because in Bollywood and Indian dramas it's apparently ok to show women being raped, abused, and emotionally tortured, but we rarely see a woman and a man consenting to a one night stand.

The audience is so use to watching an, Indian serial heroine trying to save her husband from an evil vamp, and undergoing never ending issues in her married life. Although those issues can be relatable for some women, there are the issues that the society chooses not to acknowledge, like you wrote.

It really gets one thinking about the societal differences, and how even after years of changing our mindsets, some issues should still never be brought up that publicly.

Siva Cool said...

A truly motivational and life changing book
This book is really a good book which shows us right path. but i read
one more book named "ONE BOOK FOR LIFE SUCCESS" which is truly
motivational and life changing . .The writer has described in Plain English with lot of examples which is easy to understand...For More
Please watch the videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biORjS8ngv0