Indian porn at its amateur best

The video CD had no name on it. In 2002, one sultry day in Kolkata, in the hostel (a unisex one) of the Satyajit Ray Film and TV Institute, some of us watched with astonishment an amateur porn

Published: 20th May 2010 10:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 04:39 PM   |  A+A-

hearts

The video CD had no name on it. In 2002, one sultry day in Kolkata, in the hostel (a unisex one) of the Satyajit Ray Film and TV Institute, some of us watched with astonishment an amateur pornographic video. It was the first time I had seen graphic sexual intercourse in video being engaged by ‘real’ Indian people, rather than actors paid for it. Of course, there are plenty of Indian pornographic films made in Kerala and elsewhere, where one can see raw, uncared for Indian bodies, but this was the first time I saw people like me, by which I mean middle-class college-educated lovers.

This video was one of the earliest instances of the phenomenon of amateur porn that has now become a subject of a mainstream Bollywood film ( Love, sex aur Dhoka ). As a film student, I was surprised by the kind of feeling that the video generated in me as a viewer. More than position me as a voyeur, which a professional porn film does, it placed me in an ambivalent position. I felt that ‘I’ was being watched. I felt it was ‘me’ engaging in the act. It was a strange feeling. I then decided to investigate further and I had the opportunity to make a couple of documentaries about Mysore Mallige, which was one of its titles. Others called it Love in Karnataka, Coorgy Sweety, Sophia, and according to the Internet, even Love in Karachi!   

The video had been uploaded onto the Internet, and has since spread across the world. From the comments left by admirers on websites, it seems that the video became some sort of mirror for those watching it. People from across the country identify with the couple as being ‘from their place’.

The video is about 60 minutes long and the activities are conducted in what appears to be a hotel room. The video camera is in the hands of the guy, who is unseen almost until the end of video. The girl frequently looks into the camera, and they have a conversation that is poorly recorded, and which ends up adding to the sense of mystery. There are two sex scenes between which the girl has a bath, which is also filmed. One of the strange things about the video is that it is filmed using the infrared sensor, which is used to film in zero-light conditions. Such an image appears green hues, and the guy was using this feature in daylight. This gives the video a strange ethereal quality. The only time he switches to normal mode is when he films the girl standing at the window and looking outside. One enthusiastic viewer even changed the green into a more normal colour and re-uploaded it on the Net as Mysore Mallige — Bastaad’s Edit. The guy first emerges before the camera as a reflection in the mirror, his face covered by the camera. He finally appears fully in the film in the last shot, when he positions the camera across the room and the couple continue to make love. The video ends abruptly.  

On watching the video, the first reaction is to wonder who these people are and where the film is set, not to mention, how it got to the Internet in the first place. It was these questions that led me to make the documentaries. In other people, these questions led to the creation of an urban legend: that the girl committed suicide or was seen in Bangalore on Brigade road, that the couple got married and then divorced or that they were abroad. One very common story was “I have a friend who knows the girl” — this one from people in different parts of the country.

After Mysore Mallige had become popular among the youth, amateur porn videos began proliferating. There was one filmed close to where I was studying in Kolkata, called Nalban because it was one of the locations where it was shot. I could even download diligently created compilations of various videos shot on mobile phone cameras.  

During the making of the documentary, we found the truth behind the various legends. The video was indeed shot in a Mysore hotel, which led to the entire staff of the hotel being kicked out and replaced. The couple were made to marry under duress. They separated later. The guy went abroad. The girl was in Bangalore when we were making the documentary. We didn’t try to meet her. She was already an image.

Mysore Mallige or The Jasmine of Mysore, is incidentally the name of a very popular collection of romantic Kannada poems by K S Narasimhaswamy, written in 1942, and considered a major literary work in modern Kannada literature. But if you Google the title now, the first results are of the video. It seems ironic, but I think it’s appropriate.  

— Bharath is a comics author and makes non-fiction videos for a living. Actionist@gmail.com

Stay up to date on all the latest Magazine news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp