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The nude photograph that Ranveer Singh did has become a national issue, and we need to explore the reasons why.


The 37-year-old actor's bedroom eyes glare back into the camera with a splintering lack of guile as he is draped over a carpet in a magnificent homage to actor

You will never forget where you were or what you were doing when your phone beeped and displayed a text that said, "Have you seen Ranveer Singh's naked photoshoot for PAPER Magazine?"

You will never forget where you were or what you were doing. delivered by your closest friend, neighbour, or treadmill companion at the gym; or maybe all of these people got together to send you one big, resounding text message. The 37-year-old actor's bedroom eyes glare back into the camera with a splintering lack of guile as he is draped over a carpet in a magnificent homage to actor Burt Reynolds. The tribute was filmed in a bedroom. This is the celebrity without any of the pretence that usually surrounds him, since his ridiculous brand of clothing has been removed. Within the period of a decade, he was able to exert his influence on Bollywood. He was dedicatedly steadfast in his unwillingness to treat a nation that is still struggling to come to terms with its notion of sexuality with child gloves, and as a result, Bollywood bowed to his command. In places where people are afraid to step, the guy throws in a hand grenade to announce his approach (remember the Durex advertisement from back in 2014?). And by doing a photoshoot for the same magazine that Kim Kardashian did in 2014 that broke the internet, Ranveer Singh is sending a very clear message: he is arrived.

It is hardly surprising that people's responses came pouring in so quickly and in such large numbers given the significance of the event in the annals of pop culture. Deepika Padukone received praise for "allowing" her husband to do such a risqué photoshoot, which was seen as a refreshing reversal of roles within the conventional gender dynamic. Internet thirst trap enthusiasts praised his audacious move, while elsewhere, Deepika Padukone received praise for "allowing" her husband to do such a risqué photoshoot. On the other hand, while the internet was basking in the reflected glory of a celebrity who was not afraid to be himself, fringe groups were brandishing police reports over what they saw to be his breach of modesty. It is interesting to note that the FIR against the actor for four counts of non-bailable offences and a maximum of five years of punishment was filed by one Lalit Tekchandani, the founder of NGO Shyam Mangaram Foundation. Tekchandani claims to be acting on behalf of concerned parents who are worried about the influence that Singh may have on the country's youth as well as offended women whose modesty has been insulted in the video (the irony of a man lodging this complaint on behalf of supposedly aggrieved women is not lost on anyone). It is highly likely that the hilarious sight of matrimonial lawyer and ex-lawyer Vedika Chaubey, who also submitted a written application against Singh to the Mumbai Police, flailing her arms about while proclaiming that "we can see his bum" on national television will be remembered as one of the most meme-able moments of the year 2022.

However, this raises the issue of whether or not the widespread outrage over nudity is warranted. After all, the majority of our ancient religious texts and mythical sculptures, especially the ones that decorate the renowned Khajuraho temples, are evidence of our open-minded perspective on sexuality. Women used to go out in public without clothes on back then, and males didn't bat an eye. It was considered the standard. The custom of removing clothing that covered one's body was seen as a rejection of the theology that referred to the body as a sexual object. This view prevailed in certain religious communities. The British Raj was responsible for instilling a strong Victorian influence on India and elevating the status of clothes to that of a sign of civilization in the Indian culture. The practise of nudity, on the other hand, was progressively relegated to the position of a taboo once it came to be seen as a barrier to the development that was being promised. In the example of Singh, the fact that a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Indore announced a push asking people to donate clothing after the piece was published tells a lot about how tenaciously we've held to these Western conceptions of proper behaviour.
It is important to note that the 83 actor is still being praised and defended by a significant portion of the general public even though the internet is currently debating the gendered dynamics of the reaction to his full-monty moment. This is the case even though the internet is currently debating the topic. The fact that women are casually objectified for the same reason that men are praised can be seen in a viral post that juxtaposes a nude photo of Ranveer Singh with the standard slut-shaming that was directed at actor and model Esha Gupta's bikini posts. This post aims to show how women are objectified for the same reason that men are praised. We can only hope that Singh's bare-all photoshoot becomes a significant case study for a society that has not yet reconciled its repressed notions of sexuality and could possibly use the reminder to break free of the archaic shackles of piety. In the end, we can only hope that Singh's photoshoot becomes a significant case study for a society that has not yet reconciled its repressed notions of sexuality.

In an interview a few years ago, Ranveer Singh said, "I have always aspired to be a big Hindi cinema actor." Singh is, in fact, a mainstream hero; nevertheless, he is not like the heroes who came before him in his lineage. He does not play the role of the enraged young man that Amitabh Bachchan did, nor does he play the role of the charming lover that Shah Rukh Khan does. He is not like Salman Khan, who is moody and brash, nor Aamir Khan, who is reserved and a perfectionist. In point of fact, he is not at all like any of his other contemporaries. Nevertheless, Singh has been able to carve out a distinct place for himself in Bollywood, something that not many of his contemporaries can say about themselves. This is something that Singh can claim of.

The actor has been slowly deconstructing the one-dimensional ideals that are associated with manliness via the sartorial choices he has made, both on and off-screen. It doesn't matter if it's through his sensitive portrayal of masculinity across his filmography or his eccentric persona in real life, you can count on Singh to break every reductive perception surrounding how a man, or a Hindi film hero, should behave. He does this both in his films and in real life. He is surprisingly comfortable in his own flesh and frequently embraces his effeminate side, owing it to the powerful women he is surrounded with. He also credits his own effeminate side with helping him become comfortable in his own skin.

Singh makes no bones about being a man of love, whether he is gushing over his wife and publicly professing his love for her (never worrying about how it makes him seem like a love-sick puppy) or routinely planting kisses on the cheeks of fellow male actors with childlike zest. This is a firm detour from the stoic machismo that Indian men feel compelled to put on. His ostentatious public demonstrations of devotion and unbridled passion provide insight into the degree to which he is emotionally open as a person.

Even his taste in clothing is evidence of the peculiar unconventionality that characterises him. At a period when most guys in Bollywood preferred dark colours and monochrome clothing, Singh waltzed in brandishing a riot of colours and patterns, which was quite a departure from the norm at the time. The actor has been a pioneer in promoting flexibility in fashion like no other before him, as seen by his penchant for wearing lilac pantsuits, donning skirts, and having kohl-rimmed eyes. His fashion choices may elicit praise and condemnation in equal measure, yet this does not prevent them from further strengthening his sense of self-assurance.

There is no question that Singh's depictions of masculinity in his films have a wide spectrum of expressions, but regardless of the role, there is an indescribable feeling that the actor carries inside himself that makes his performances thrilling to witness. Be it Alauddin Khilji's ferocious eyes in Padmaavat, Jayesh's tender smile in Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Ram's lascivious antics in Ram-Leela, or Murad's solemn presence in Gully Boy, Singh seems to deliberately swim against the tide to correct the toxic depiction of male swagger that has been championed in Bollywood since the Bachchan era. Singh In films such as Simmba (2018), he may have been guilty of falling victim to the same tendencies, but for the most part, he has shown the insight to break away from conventional storytelling practises.

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