I know my blog has been rather boring of late. Just to spice things up a bit, here is a post on Savita Bhabhi. Enjoy!
Dearest Savita Bhabhi,
My most respected bhabhiji, I am writing to say that I miss you very much. It’s been a long time since I last saw you in your home environment, and all I have now are the memories and downloads of your wonderful memoirs.
Don’t worry, I don’t blame you for your absence. I know you’re not just being capricious and that it isn’t your fault that we can’t visit you any more. It’s those silly men who’ve put a stop to your appearances, not because they couldn’t take your awesome hotness (though they couldn’t, it’s a fact) but because they couldn’t take your sassy attitude and your power. This is a familiar scenario, and we, your sisters in desire, know all about it.
Personally I think it was envy that made them block you and forced you to voluntarily disappear from our screens, though not our hearts. How could they not envy you? You had it all: you had a house, a husband, and a secret life full of adventure and fulfilment. At your high point you spoke ten Indian languages including English, though some of them perhaps not very well. With your tiny blouses, chiffon saris, figure hugging churidar kurtas and explosive lingerie, you were a style icon. What more can a girl want? Every day we’d log on to http://www.savitabhabhi.com to find out what you’d been up to during the night, and you always unfailingly entertained us. Yes Savitaji, you were all girl.
That is, we could see you every night until June 3 of this year. That was when the axe fell. For all those who weren’t fortunate enough to know you when we could walk into your bedroom any time, let me give the poor things a potted biography. My friend Savita Bhabhi was the wife of Ashok Patel, and appeared on her website http://www.savitabhabhi.com (since pulled offline by the prudish Indian government) as ‘a hot Indian bhabhi’. And boy, was she hot.
The episodes of her story saw her start out on her career of ‘saving the world one dick at a time’ by seducing a bra salesman, where a door left fortuitously open while she’s trying on his stuff gives her an idea. The second issue saw her get jiggy with two boys whose cricket ball smashes through her window. She goes from strength to strength, ending as far as I know with the two part Miss India issue. As time passes, she becomes more assured of her powers, getting down to business sometimes in the next panel, and trying for ever more daring conquests.
For a notice of the ban, see this DNA article, which also alleges that a ‘consumer goods major’ invented a Savita-like character to sell its products in the villages. This turned out to be Procter and Gamble, who invented “Sangeeta Bhabhi” to sell Tide and Head and Shoulders in rural areas. The online gaming site Contest2win also came up with “Kavita Bhabhi” to promote their games. These characters apparently kept their clothes on.
Others marked her passing with some grief. Amit Verma of the India Uncut blog commented on your silencing here. In fact Amit, you’ll be pleased to know, Savita, is a great and early fan of yours, and commented on your first appearance way back in April 2008. So is Pritish Nandy. Other fans also weighed in to help: Save Savita (savesavita.com) was set up but shut down a few weeks later, reported due to family pressure on “Deshmukh” the creator, who also revealed his identity as Puneet Agarwal, a 33 year old businessman based in the UK. There was a Facebook page and a Twitter account, but house no 323 remained resolutely locked.
Why did the moral police go after you? You were a good wife, Savita, you did everything your husband asked of you, when he remembered your existence. You always, no matter how naked you got, kept on your thick streak of sindoor in your parting, and most times also your mangal sutra. In fact your mangal sutra, cut and pasted from some photograph onto drawn images of you, was in a sense more real than you: it was a piece of the real world on your imagined body. Interestingly, your cover art above is the only picture I’ve been able to find where you aren’t wearing it. Any special reason, or did the cover artist not read his brief well enough? And don’t ask me which brief.
What really strikes one about the situations you are in is how Indian they are, and how you turn them to your advantage. Every girl has had men lech at her in these circumstances, and every girl has dreamed of getting the better of them, throwing off victimhood, being sexually and socially powerful in the face of challenges. But you did it. You just went ahead and took what you wanted and damn the consequences.
You were the brain child of “Deskhmukh” who wrote most of your scripts (certainly the good ones), and you were mostly drawn by a guy or girl called Clank and coloured by a guy or girl called Mad. At first you were described as a ‘hot Guju bhabhi’ but soon your pan-Indian appeal was recognised and you became the darling of the whole country. In your heyday, you had an Alexa rank of 1,078 and your home was the 85th most visited Indian website. Your site was banned on June 3 of this year under regulations that give the Indian government sweeping powers to pretty much do away with any site it doesn’t like. Why were you banned? I draw your attention to this quote by a lawyer, cited on Fish Pond:
“Cartoons are a more participative medium. Videos don’t do as much damage. When a child is watching a cartoon, he imagines himself as the character. This has a deeply corrupting influence on our youngsters. This, apart from the fact that an Indian name was being used in such an obscene cartoon, is what led me to make the complaint,” Vijayashankar said. “A child will see a Savitabhabhi among his relatives.”
Excuse me? Who says cartoons are for kids? Has this man ever watched South Park, and would he understand it if he did? Also, does he have anything to say about the fact that you, Savita bhabhi, in your twelve episodes, are never once raped or molested? That you usually initiate sex and give come ons to the men?
Or is the point that cartoons and pornography don’t mix? I differ with the learned judge on this point: I think porn videos do more damage than comics, because where live people are involved there’s always the risk of exploitation. You can’t exploit a set of lines on paper (whether the artist is being exploited or not is a question of different quality). Well, in the UK as yet, drawings cannot be outlawed as pornography: a very sensible attitude which is in danger of being reversed (see the controversy over Alan Moore’s Lost Girls).
I would have thought the principal objection to pornography is its exploiting of the actors. If porn stars were given equity cards and had union protection that prevented them having to do things they didn’t want to do, I would have no objection to it. Child porn and porn where starving people have no other option but to take their clothes off in front of a camera is not ok in my book. Aside from that, if consenting adults want to film themselves having sex and sell it, let ’em, and let the people who want to watch it do so, preferably in private and in silence.
OK, a website is hardly private, but it could be. Who is affected by your escapades? The readers? Well, why not have people sign up with age proof to read about you, then, rather than just ban you? Or is that too permissive for Aunty Government? It’s interesting that in your stories there is never a mother-in-law. Perhaps the government and the good people who moved it to act felt they had to step in and play the role. Where would we be without mothers-in-law, anyway?
I think part of the confusion is that some people think SEX IS BAD, and pornography, which is primarily about sex and little else, is therefore also bad. See this interesting post, written by someone who clearly doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for Savita Bhabhi and her ways. This commentator sees the cricket story as close to rape. Yes it does have a line or two that could be interpreted as hostile to Savita (there is no credit for the writer so I don’t know if Deshmukh wrote this one: I suspect not. ) but this is an early aberration and never occurs again in the Savita canon. Then the next point which many have objected to (including Dr Tara Tatiana Pandey: this post is now only available through google cache) is the ‘subaltern’ status of Manoj the servant and possibly the bra salesman, neither of whom are hip urbanites. Dr Pandey makes the point that in te edialogue between Manoj and Savita, the trope of servant master is repeatedly underlined, such as where Savita tells him ‘do your work well’ or that she will work him hard. Here of course the learned doctor has missed the double entendre behind ‘work’ — unsurprising, because she seems to think that the story of the lost virginity in Episode 6 (not 4 as she says) is Savita’s not Chhaya’s. Close reading is clearly not her forte. See also Arvind Gaba’s comments on Deshmukh, including an ‘interview’ with him which may or may not be genuine.
In any case, Savita my dear, you’re not a person. You are gloriously free from the corporality we all suffer from: you’ll never sag or go wrinkly, you lucky thing. You can be as ethereal or as fleshy as your artist wants to make you. That’s why you’re everyone’s favourite bhabhi. You can be as perfect as the sweaty dreams of man (and woman) can make you.
Coming back to the non-exploitative nature of your stories. Had they chosen to, the writers and moderators (going by the collective name “Indian Porn Empire”) could have told such stories of rape and pain, which we’re only too familiar with from B-grade Bollywood stuff. In the chat room that was attached to your original website, readers posted scenarios they wanted to see written up. These included stories where you were raped on trains, gang-banged by robbers, by the police and other uncomfortable situations. I don’t know why Indian men wanted these things to happen to you; maybe you can tell me why?
To your and their credit, your writers and editors never did any of that to you. Even in ‘The Interview’, where you apply for a job and end up having a threesome with your friend and the portly manager, it’s still all consensual. And what’s more, you get the job. You’re a porn star, not a slab of meat, for chrissakes. The whole point of the story is that you’re a horny woman who does what she wants. That’s the real turn on.
In fact, you’re even a spy for your country. You agree to go into the dangerous camp of Daku Jwala Gadar, somewhere in Himachal Pradesh, to spy on him and lure him into the clutches of the Indian police force. And why not? Even dakus have a softer side. They need excitement and pleasure just like everyone else.
Never mind that this is one of your daydreams: you would have done it if the country had the balls to call on your special skills. Instead of banning you, the Indian government should have taken up your offer of help, and seriously thought of using your courage and your power to make India safer. If they had been so farsighted, this is what would have happened.
Savita was not your average porn hottie. If she was, us girls wouldn’t have wasted any time on her. She was brought to my notice by another turbo babe, who told me to look beyond appearances and pay particular attention to the thought bubbles hovering over Savita’s head as she plays out her fantasies with the men she encounters.
Is Savita, as the men often think she is, the submissive good girl conditioned to take orders, preyed on by rapacious men’s appetites? Or is she the puppetteer who makes them dance from her manicured fingertips? Can you tell us this, Savitaji? Are you powerful or powerless? I think I know what your answer would be. The men you encounter have no doubt of who is the stronger: they’re all in the palm of your hand. If you want to make them feel strong and manly, they feel so, if not, they don’t. It’s up to you. Reality was whatever you wanted it to be, because you were always desirable and desiring.
And furthermore, isn’t there something transgressive and redeeming about your cross-class, (and maybe cross-caste) relationship with Manoj, your servant, lover and masseur? Again, purists will object that he is your servant and therefore you are in a position of authority over him, which you abused when you took him to bed. But where else is a woman hemmed in by the categories of middle-class life going to get her thrills? And what about the story he tells you, of how he lost his virginity in the village, to a girl who was to be married to a rich old man. This girl, Chhaya, wants to taste the pleasures of sex once before she marries, and Manoj obliges. Having assured her chances of bearing a child, she gets married, and all is burfi and rosepetals.
In between, Savita takes on a beauty contest for married women. Deciding to teach a lesson to an ex-model who is giving the other girls a hard time, Savita enters the contest. Of course she’s going to win: no one is as hot as she is, but to make assurance doubly sure she decides to convince the judge up close of her charms.
The judge is none other than the famous elder filmstar Jeet Kumar, he of the dapper French-cut beard and the erratically dyed hair. His resemblance to Amitabh Bachchan (specifically the character Sexy Sam in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna) predictably sparked off a controversy, with Karan Johar, is a fit of brain sickness, actually threatening to sue Indian Porn Empire for character theft. Thankfully better sense prevailed. In the West in any case, parody is protected by the First Amendment in the US and various laws in the UK.
She drives off with Jeet Kumar, and they converse. Savita doesn’t believe in beating around the, er, bush, so she gets down to it on the highway. Realising they’re having too much fun to keep driving, they turn off onto Highway 69 and Savita arranges herself winningly on the hood of the Honda City. As she’s making her presentation to the judge regarding her suitability for the title, a truck driver happens to pass. Savita is gratified. She’s made two men happy in one fell swoop.
The contest concludes and Savita awaits the results. As she sits in a back room, she worries about her prospects. Should she have done all three judges, including the woman? That would have been fun: she fantasises it in detail. Her daydream is broken by the arrival of another judge, who has ‘heard a lot about her’ and wants to see if it’s all true.
Of course, it is, and Savita obliges, necessitating a further outing for the famous red panties. Needless to say, no one can resist her. She is crowned Mrs Burgaon (sic), and rightly so.
But forgive me, Savita, I have been talking about you in the third person. Very remiss of me: no one can do that when you’re in the room. I haven’t yet got around to celebrating your resourcefulness and your cool nerve.
Who else could have sex with Ashok Patel’s colleague Lata’s bored and neglected husband in the kitchen on a tiny counter while Ashok and Lata sit in the living room, twenty feet away through an open door? That takes guts.
The session on the counter unfortunately concludes prematurely, but nothing daunted, Savita has an idea during dinner. After all, the poor man (another Manoj) looks so bored and neglected next to his fat wife. She tries a little footsie, but this isn’t enough. She wants ‘more of what Manoj was giving me inside the kitchen’. and to that end, she employs the time honoured oops-I-dropped-a-fork trick and heads south. Under the table, she blows him, then reappears to say ‘That was a delicious meal. I would love to have some more, but I am so full.’ Corny, yes, but all the best lines are.
Savita, you were so much bigger and rounder than their wildest fantasies. You liked everyone who was willing to play the game, whether they were ugly or good-looking, thin or fat, young or old. You were a true democrat, and God knows there isn’t enough of that around in the claustrophobic, overdecorated little flats of the middle class.
What endeared you most to us was your innocence. Nothing could ever harm you, in the jungles of beauty contests and very odd office interviews, in doctor’s chambers and lingerie stores. Through situations that would have curled the hair of us real women, you sailed through with such savoir faire as took our breath away. Now here some might say that in so doing, you made the world a more dangerous place for us, that because of you the wolves would see a Savita Bhabhi in every woman and treat us accordingly. But I prefer to see it differently. Perhaps your radiant hedonism will make us less uptight about our own desires. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Even when artists drew you badly and made your titties inflate and deflate like barrage balloons from panel to panel, you were so confident of your appeal and your desires, unlike most of us on this fallible, more-than-four-colour earth. Even when the ghosts of Sridevi, Amrita Singh, Amisha Patel, Sushmita Sen and a dozen starlets from a handful of decades flitted across your features from stuttering pencils, you were still indefinably yourself. Maybe someday you’ll come back to us. I’ll drink to that. Here’s to the little red panties! May they go up and down like the Bombay stock exchange.
STOP PRESS: I’ve just been told that the ban on Savita Bhabhi has been lifted. You can read episodes 13-16 on a number of sites, for example http://www.kirtu.com. I see that episode 14 is the train story, but in it Savita seduces Jai, a young virgin, the brother of Roshni and friend of Shobha (Shobha is the girl who gets Savita into the “Miss India” cvontest.) Shobha watches Savita have sex with Jai, is turned on, and decides that she has a lot to learn from Savita.Clank has drawn the series again from episode 14 onwards, with only episode 13, ‘College Girl Savi’, being drawn by ‘Many Face’. In ‘College Girl Savi’ she’s supposed to be in college but wears a uniform: this seems to be influenced by manga. Rather predictably, she seduces a professor who had threatened to fail her, with chair-trembling results. This is also the frist time we see a condom being used, although more as a sex toy than as safe sex precaution. But then this is about fantasy, and condoms don’t appear for the same reason that characters in Hollywood movies never lock their cars.
Episode 15, ‘Ashok at Home’ is hilarious: Ashok is at home for once instead of Savita, and an unending train of suitors turn up looking for her, from the cable guy to the kulfi wallah. Their memories and fantasies appears as flashbacks. Ashok is very puzzled as to why they press their services on him for free, saying they will ‘settle the account’ with Bhabhi later. Poor Ashok is the only person Savita never sleeps with, deservedly, since he’s a pompous ass.