A romantic comedy that opens at Indian cinemas this week tacklestaboos about sperm donation and infertility, in the latest Bollywood film toexperiment with traditionally off-limits content.
"Vicky Donor", which is released on Friday, tells thestory of the unemployed and lazy Vicky, who is persuaded by a doctor to donatehis sperm to make a living -- a job he then tries to keep quiet from his newgirlfriend.
The film retains the singing and dancing so beloved of Indianaudiences and will be "fun to watch", according to producer JohnAbraham. But while the style may be familiar, the content is definitely new.
"Indian audiences have never seen this kind of film,"Abraham said at the launch in Mumbai.
He has expressed hopes that the movie will spread awareness amongchildless couples about sperm donation, which has largely been an alien conceptin conservative Indian society.
"It is high time we openly talk about this issue," saidactor Ayushmann Khurrana, who stars as Vicky.
"We tell in the film that sperm donor identity is always kepta secret and also that donors have to go through many tests before gettingselected. This film is informative and entertaining at the same time."
Trade analysts say the film is part of a wider trend inHindi-speaking cinema, with censors relaxing their rules in a bid to keep upwith the times.
Friday also sees the release of "Hate Story", an eroticthriller that has generated a stir with a raunchy trailer on YouTube. One ofthe film's stars, Nikhil Dwivedi, has described the film as an Indian"Basic Instinct".
"Bollywood is experimenting with newer and newer subjectmatter," Komal Nahta, editor of the trade journal Film Information, toldAFP.
"Until four or five years back only the 'masala' films werebeing made," he said, using the term for the typical Indian commercialmelodrama that combines music and comedy with romance and action.
Actor and producer Aamir Khan was one of the first to turn to moreserious matters with "Taare Zameen Par" (Like Stars on Earth) in2007, a film about a dyslexic boy that was a critically acclaimed box officehit.
Khan pushed the boundaries further last year with screwball comedy"Delhi Belly", a film that outraged conservative critics for itstoilet humour and profanity-peppered dialogue, which surprisingly passed thecensor board uncut.
It sparked protests at cinemas and even a court case on charges ofobscenity and insulting religion, but the movie ran to full houses and became acult hit for its reflection of young people in modern, urban India.
Some of the latest risk-takers in Bollywood are keeping alight-hearted touch. "Ab Hoga Dharna Unlimited", released last week,focuses on the issue of hunger striking in protest for justice.
The practice is a common but controversial one in India, popularisedby Mahatma Gandhi and last year propelling anti-corruption campaigner AnnaHazare into the media spotlight, but the film takes a comedic approach.
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