Actor Ranveer Singh recently shot some (almost) nude images for an interview which have now taken the Internet by storm, naturally. Known for his bold and often in-your-face style of dressing, one had almost given on seeing him dressed in a formal suit. No one was expecting him to turn up on our timelines in his bathing suit though. However, Singh is not the only actor to nearly bare it all in the last couple of weeks. This begets the question – are we witnessing the peak of male objectification in Bollywood?
Singh’s recent photoshoot is actually a tribute to yesteryear pop icon Burt Reynolds, who did a similar shoot in 1972 for Cosmopolitan magazine. Curiously, the actor hasn’t shared these images from his official Instagram handle. While in one of the photos, Singh’s hand is strategically placed to cover his essentials, identical to the pose struck by Reynolds, one can see his bare buttocks in another shot and he lies on his abdomen.
Actor Vijay Deverakonda had shared a post of his upcoming film Liger earlier this month, in which he can be seen nude, except for a bouquet of red roses covering his privates and boxing gloves wrapped around his hands. While Deverakonda’s picture was part of a promotional campaign for his film, it had gone viral on social media, just like Singh’s images. However, it did remind one of Aamir Khan’s PK poster, in which it was a transistor that shielded his modesty, instead of red roses.
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Ranveer Singh Viral Nudes: Male actors get objectified as well
There was a time when the onus to look glamourous and shapely fell singularly on women in cinema. The likes of Shammi Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar or Govinda have enjoyed massive fan following, despite not having the conventional good looks or bodies like Dharmendra or Dara Singh did. In the 90s, only action film heroes like Sunny Deol, Akshay Kumar or Salman Khan were expected to flex their bulging biceps, purely for the sake of the genre and persona that they were catering to their viewers.
However, at the turn of the millennium, everything changed and suddenly six packs were a norm for stars, as washboard abs were for women. Those who didn’t have it – the likes of Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, got it in later parts of their career. Looks matter like never before for men in cinema. If you want the audience to adore you, you have to set fitness goals.
But with Deverakonda and Singh’s images, it seems as if this trend of male objectification has peaked, as there is nothing more left to expose. Almost every muscle on these men’s bodies is perfectly stone, the curves are picture perfect and that’s perhaps the minimum requirement if you aim to bare it all, almost. One can only imagine the kind of discipline it must take on these actors’ part to attain such physical form, but isn’t it time to stop and think about what kind of mindset are they shaping among the young men and women?
Must men and women identify masculinity with biceps and six or eight packs? Should a man feel ashamed and unworthy if he fails to cultivate a chiselled body?
If women deem such bodies as desirable, then how is it any different from men validating zero figures and a certain size of breasts as “hot”?
We need to stop doing this to ourselves and to our actors. The silver screen should be about showcasing stories, picturesque locations, melodious songs, the art of acting and creating cinema, not just a competition of fitness, curves and bulges. If we only adore the male actor for his body then truly we are doing injustice to his skills and deviating his focus from what his actual job is – to act.
Well, now that the peak is here, let us see where male objectification in cinema heads now.
The views expressed are the author’s own.