Clients: Zinda Laash, Representation of Sex Workers in Bollywood.
Duration: 00:10:02; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 13.998; Saturation: 0.090; Lightness: 0.217; Volume: 0.251; Cuts per Minute: 26.605; Words per Minute: 55.901
Summary: Clients in Bollywood films representing women in prostitution are often both caricatures (Market) or leading men of the film (Baaghi, Sadak), who go on to fall in love with a prostitute. What is interesting here, is a reversal of sexual politics. Usually in a hero-heroine scenario of the commercial Bollywood film, it is the hero who makes the first move and has the upper hand in the entire process of romance. Here, the women are obviously more experienced sexually; they are outspoken, make lewd jokes, and use a more impersonal way of addressing and talking. What is also observed is exhibition of the women, as they are all made to stand in a line as soon as the clients come and choice of sexual partner still lies with the male. A notable exception is Amar Prem, where the interaction is between a sex worker and her maalak (lover), and it is here that we see shades of jealousy, possession and violence.
Client: 'Where's Kajli? Come, Come, you're back from your in-laws? '
Kajli: 'Get up. Go sit somewhere else.'
Client: 'You look great in this sari. That old man has really made a bride out of you. Anybody will keep you in their house.'
Kajli: 'Get up, no. Go sit on the chair.'
Client: 'I am an old lover of yours. He's there today, he will leave tomorrow. And I will always be here.'
Kajli: 'I heard you. Now get up and sit there'.
Client: 'That bloody pimp! He has increased the value of you prostitutes!'
Kajli: 'You are the pimp! He doesn't live off your father's income! Don't you dare abuse him!'
Client: 'Two bit whore! and you dare to open your mouth.'
Kajli: 'What did you say? Your relatives are whores!'
This clip is from the film Mausam (dir: Gulzar, 1975).Dr.Amarnath Gill (Sanjeev Kumar) while studying for his medical exams in Darjeeling has an affair with the local healer's daughter Chanda (Sharmila Tagore). He promises to return, but he never does. Twenty five years later he returns to realize that the local healer is dead, his daughter was married off to an old crippled man. He also finds out that Chanda had a daughter. He discovers her in a brothel, a foul mouthed prostitute. Overtaken by guilt, he asks this girl, Kajli (also Sharmila Tagore) to come and live with him. He succeeds in 'reforming' her and a relationship of care and affection grows between them. Kajli leaves her profession and stays with Amarnath. This film makes a clear distinction between prostitutes and ordinary women, in their speech, clothing and mannerisms. Though the deep seated societal bias is clear, everything about the prostitute is conspicuous and must stand out.
Gharwali: 'Have you guys come for the first time?'
Client 1: 'Yes aunty.First time.'
Gharwali: 'Have you guys come for some time, or will you stay the whole night?'
Client 2: 'No, we have come just like that.'
Gharwali: 'Is this a garden, that you have come to take a stroll? We have many beautiful girls. Whatever you want, you can do.Where are all of you?? Haleem Miya, call the girls, it's business time.'
Haleem: 'Come on girls, get into line.'
Client 2: 'Can you recognize which one is new and which one is old?'
Client 1: 'Yes, just look at them carefully, see how they are all standing.'
Gharwali: 'What are you guys whispering? Have you come to look for a bride?'
Client 1: 'Raja, like anyone?'
Client 3: 'Yes, the red one!'
This clip is from the film Market (dir: Prakash Shaw, 2003). This scene is one trying to depict the interactions between sex workers and clients. Three reasonably naive looking men visit the brothel in Hyderabad. The girls are asked to appear, they stand around making all kinds of gestures, their body language and clothes clearly revealing their profession. There is also a new girl among them, who is instantly recognized because of her demeanour, shy and nervous, standing quietly. With the background already created, Manisha Koirala, the lead actress enters and the scene takes an interesting turn, with the sex worker making a fool out of her client (see next clip).
Client 2: 'Shekhar this one.'
Client 1: 'Aunty, he wants to go with this one'.
Gharwali: 'What sir,you turned out to be a surprise! Muskaan, take him. Be careful, he's new.'
Muskaan: 'Come. Come on!'
Sex worker: 'The boy's gone!'
Muskaan: 'Did you intend to sit there all night?Take off your clothes!'
Client 2: 'Please turn off the lights'
Muskaan: 'You're feeling shy? I'll turn the lights off? okay.'
This clip is from the film Market (dir: Prakash Shaw, 2003). This scene is one trying to depict the interactions between sex workers and clients. Three reasonably naive looking men visit the brothel in Hyderabad. The girls are asked to appear, they stand around making all kinds of gestures, their body language and clothes clearly revealing their profession. There is also a new girl among them, who is instantly recognized because of her demeanour, shy and nervous, standing quietly. With the background already created, Manisha Koirala, the lead actress enters and the scene takes an interesting turn, with the sex worker making a fool out of her client.
Baaghi (dir: Deepak Shivdasani, 1990) is the narrative of a young boy Saaja n (Salman Khan) who falls in love with a prostitute, Kajal (Nagma). The film then follows all the known tropes of such a plot; the girl enters the profession through deception, there is an evil pimp involved and staunch parental opposition to such a marriage. This clip shows four young men visiting the brothel including the protagonist. The brothel is typical, with the sex workers standing out in the way they are dressed and their mannerisms.While his friends are excited, Salman Khan appears uncomfortable with the entire setting and goes on to become an object of ridicule.
Where have you brought these kids from? If you spoil kids, the police will catch us.
No no, Neela Bai, these kids were lost on the road, I have brought them to the correct place.
Have you come for the first time?
No, I come everyday. What do you think?
Come on in.
I have brought my friend, very rich. That's why I have brought him here. There are no better girls in the market than this. Take my word for it.
That's fine, but where are the girls?
Bring the girls out.
I want that girl.
Oh wow, what an eye. This, the girl who is going to be sold today.
No, not that one. She is already sold for 10,000 rupees.
Once sold is sold. Pick another girl. I am not going to change my mind for 2000 rupees.
See Maharani, the true price of the girl is now being determined.
If this is a matter of ego, even I am ready to pay 15.
Even I am no less. 30,000.
Here is 30,000 and here's 2. 32,000 rupees.
32! Now whoever pays more will have the girl. Why don't you come tomorrow night. You'll get the same girl for cheaper.
No, No way. You wait, I'll get more money.
No. Just like the night doesn't wait for anyone, this market doesn't wait for anyone.
Here. Now the girl is mine.
This is not right Maharani. This is not humanity.You are dishonest.
Shut up! Who has ever considered pimps and whores human, that you speak of humanity! Here take your money back, go sit in your shop and deal in dishonesty.
Sadak (dir: Mahesh Bhatt, 1999)is the story of a traumatized young man (Sanjay Dutt)who is unable to get over the death of his sister, who had become a prostitute and died while trying to run away from her profession. He meets a girl (Pooja Bhatt) who is later sold off to a pimp, an evil transgender character called Maharani. One day Sanjay Dutt visits the brothel and seeing Pooja Bhatt there, memories of his sister's plight come flooding back to him. His sole aim in life becomes rescuing Pooja out of the evil world of prostitution. It is a completely negative portrayal of prostitution, all the characters associated with it are shown to be seedy and evil. It falls within the pattern of the boy-girl-villain love story of the typical Hindi film.