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Needed, more space for women's sexual identity on marquees

With debutant Indian director Homi Adajania's English film "Being Cyrus" coming up, the number of films// in recent times depicting older women in roles that explore their sexual side has shot up once more.

The made-in-Mumbai film features Dimple Kapadia as Katy, a Parsi woman, who is attracted towards Cyrus, essayed by Saif Ali Khan. The film also stars Naseeruddin Shah and Boman Irani.

With the exception of a handful of movies like "Freaky Chakra", "Leela", "Dil Chahta Hai", "Doosra Aadmi", "Ek Nai Paheli", "Saaz", "Maya Memsaab", "Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi", "Ek Chhotisi Love Story" and "Bada Din" (and some usual student-infatuated-with-teacher sequences), the older woman is expected to harbor only motherly feelings towards younger men and if a younger man falls for an older woman it is seen as an idiosyncrasy.

Indian filmmakers find it difficult to think beyond the obvious when it comes to relationships. As Shabana Azmi pointed out in an interview, a mother is not allowed to have a sexual identity in Hindi films.

In small instances where the older woman does find love in the arms of a younger man, she is eventually punished. Even in films that do deal with a romance like this, it rarely sees a happy ending for both.

Both mainstream and niche filmmakers in India have been utterly judgmental towards older women. Even in recent films like "Dil Chahta Hai", "Ek Chhotisi Love Story", "Leela" and "Freaky Chakra", the women were stereotyped as singletons, with dysfunctional lives and crotchety temperaments.

Take V.K. Prakash's "Freaky Chakra" for instance. Deepti Naval is a cantankerous widow who enjoys sexually explicit phone calls from a neighbor and transforms into a cheerful coquette when she gets a teenager boy as a paying guest.

In "Dil Chahta Hai" Akshaye Khanna's confession of love for the alcoholic divorcee Dimple is viewed as a relationship that promises sex without commitment by his fr
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