SEX AND THE CITY—On sex, Kolkata is a world away from Bangalore

A short video film exploring urban sexuality in the two metros of Bangalore and Kolkata has caught the attention of NHK, Japanese Public Broadcaster, scheduled to air the film in Japan in September.

The 30-minute film made by the young duo Bharat Murthy and Alka Singh, alumni of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), Kolkata, has aroused the interest of NHK, which is keen to know the changes that globalisation has effected on lifestyle and inter-personal relationships among the urban youth.

“We chose the cities of Bangalore and Kolkata as response of urban youth to globalisation in these two metros is very different,” said Bharat, who was the assistant director for the hit slapstick comedy “Bheja Fry”.

In Bangalore, one witnesses an overdose of consumer culture brought in by advertising blitzkrieg, both in print and audio visuals. The youth enamoured by the ads don’t bat an eyelid before splurging on upmarket brands, be it clothes or accessories, he said. The youngsters in the city, which has become a call centre hub, “are sucked into MNC culture of making fast bucks and letting their hair down, unmindful of their roots and culture”, laments Murthy.

Echoing similar thoughts, Dr M J Thomas, a leading psychiatrist and counsellor of the city felt, the youth who work in close proximity during late hours in BPOs “are not only given to permissive behaviour but are also doing drugs and consuming alcohol, which needs to be monitored and curbed”.

As far as pornography is concerned Bharat and Alka found most youth in Bangalore are for porn. However, the number of girls watching pornography, easily accessible though the net, is far less than boys.

The scenario in Kolkata however, is interestingly very different, says Bharat.

Though under colonial rule for many years, Kolkatans are still bound by strong cultural roots. Consumerism has still not invaded the lives of the youth, “who are happy and contented with their “addas” (meeting joints) and still find a boat ride on the river Hoogly, romantic”, he said.

Thomas who has travelled extensively feels the urban youth in Kolkata have “their priorities right, are more focused, involved and less superficial”.
“Many of them still are not for pre-marital sex and feel serious involvement is necessary. Perhaps it also has to do with the life there which is much slower compared to Bangalore”, he said.

The percentage of youth who watch porn in Kolkata is much less compared to those in Bangalore, said Alka. While the film is “not a survey or a judgement passed on the urban youth in the two metros, it definitely offers a peek-a-boo into their mindset”, say the duo.

It is indeed heartening to know that the city of Kolkata, which lags behind the other metros in India in terms of education, lifestyle, per capita income, employment, etc(if the innumerous surveys by the market research bureaus and the media houses are to be believed!)scores very high in terms of emotional attachment, culture, human bondings, warmth and relationships. Kudos to the youth of this city, who still think that commitment begins with a capital ‘C’in their lives!

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