Raw Nerve

Matru ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

The posters of Vishal Bhardwaj's latest film are adult as well as sexist.

Only two years ago, filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj gave Vidya Balan the now-celebrated actor for her woman-centric roles her first biggie. Ishqiya was a delightful story of a young widow who seduces two goons for her own little revenge story. Set in a dusty UP village (you almost want to wash up after watching the film), the feisty no-makeup Balan sinks her teeth into the role and deservedly wins her first of a string of "best actress" trophies.

This is especially why the posters of his next in line Matru ki Bijlee Ka Mandola touch a raw nerve. The tongue-twisting title stars Pankaj Kapur, Imran Khan and Anushka Sharma and releases this Friday. In the posters, Sharma's back is shown wearing hot pants and a rolled-up T-shirt with her fingers pointing to a tattoo above her hip that reads: "Dekho Magar Pyar Se". This poster was first released around Diwali on front page of the dailies.

Bhardwaj is a revered filmmaker especially since his localised Macbeth Maqbool was deemed a clever and delightful watch. His forte has been in telling stories, both tragic and comic, from India's seemingly sleepy villages. The tattoo is obviously a jibe on the transport trucks that traffic our highways, with their look-but-don't-touch kitsch-wit to ward off accidents.

The film's second poster could be confused for a Mahesh Bhatt/ Vikram Bhatt film. (The posters of Raaz 3 had a quasi-nude Bipasha Basu being groped by a phantom's hands. The new Jism is an ode to adult film actor Sunny Leone's breasts.) In Bhardwaj's second poster, Sharma emerges soaked from a river in a diaphanous vest and an oxblood-red padded bra. There is little alibi to forgive this one.

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