Savita Bhabhi – Indian comics get rather naughty
The Independent has an article on a comics character from India called Savita Bhabhi. No, I hadn’t heard of her either and no, it isn’t some new celeb-endorsed line from Virgin Comics. The anonymous writers and artists go only under the banner of the Indian Porn Empire, which will give you an idea of what sort of comics we’re talking about. According to the Indy the sub-continent’s first online erotic comic is pulling in an audience in droves and even offers multi-lingual smut (English, Bengali, Hindi and more) although from what I glimpsed (in the interests of blog research) I don’t think the text is any more required than it is in a skin flick. The basic set ups seem like the worst cliches of 70s porno – you’re waiting for the plumber to come in to the bored housewife’s home where she remarks on the size of his plunger, its about that level, somewhere between the Giant Moustache era of porn and Carry On movies. Although Savita Bhabhi’s adventures do get quite explicit later, so its not for the easily offended.
(the door to door lingerie salesman lends a hand in Savita Bhabhi, (c) Indian Porn Empire)
To be honest it seems pretty dull stuff – the narrative is laughable, unsophisticated stuff and the art not overly impressive (the use of computer graphics to do the backgrounds like the wallpaper lend it a cheap, old-fashioned video game look). Its hard to imagine finding this titillating, I thought it more likely to provoke a fit of laughter really. Probably this is more interesting for what it says about Indian culture than as a comics in and of itself – as the Indy article points out the land which gave us the eroticism of the Kama Sutra now frowns on a simple public kiss (as witnessed when Richard Gere planted a smacker on a Bollywood star, causing outrage), so, as with the Victorian era here is strict public conservatism and repression creating the situation where some are desperate for any form of media exploring sexuality? Sarnath Banerjee, a comics creator currently working on a tale about sexuality in India, certainly seemed to think so when he talked to the Indpendent: “Writing good pornography, or erotica, needs rigour and an understanding of humanity. You are an anthropologist looking at socio-psychology. You have to be repressed to write good pornography. For me, I was fascinated when I saw these prostitutes in Amsterdam, coming as I did from the usual anal middle class and its protected environment, where sexy was Ms Peters, the geography teacher.” If Sarnath is right about only the badly repressed being able to create good porn then I can only assume the anonymous creators enjoy a life of hedonism. Still, if its all you’ve got I can see where readers might still log on regularly.