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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