The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bollywood’s boys who bare

Mumbai, Nov. 3: Bollywood has finally opened doors to gender parity in disrobing.

Oops, a film now on the floors, features the city’s male strippers, men who have become part of the adult entertainment scene over the past five or six years.

The film, being directed and produced by former actor Deepak Tijori, is the story of two male background dancers turning to shedding clothes for a living, a lucrative profession in sinful Mumbai.

Tijori says he wanted a “fresh” idea. The many male strippers in the city, who perform discreetly at the glitziest hotels on nights that are not advertised and at private parties, provided him with that.

But the film — being made in two “languages”, English and “Hinglish” — may not tell the naked truth. “My film is not experimental cinema,” Tijori insists.

The plot thickens in Oops when a starlet, played by Mink, picks up two boys — two new actors — with an offer to become strippers. They go on to become successful in the profession. But before the emptiness and “depravity” of their path are revealed in full horror, a twist in the story saves the day.

Ali G., 27, a real-life stripper who acts as a background dancer in Oops (“I have too ‘negative’ a face to be a hero”; he does bit roles in ads and music videos otherwise), says the film is based on his story. He and his stripping partner were picked up by a lady after a corporate show five years ago, and asked to perform for a surprise birthday party.

While one of the boys loses his girlfriend, Ali, too, lost his because of his profession.

The similarities end there. While the film offers visions of a different future, Ali cannot quite see what lies ahead. “Maybe photography. I am talking to some people,” he says.

But Ali says he is quite happy doing the shows, especially with the wedding season setting in. Ali, who usually gets a show every second weekend in other months, is expecting heavy bookings now as strip acts are popular at bridal shows at upscale addresses.

“I do different themes. There is the Arabian theme, the Indian cop theme or the American cop theme and I dress up accordingly. I see videos to practise my moves,” he says.

He insists he strips for a living out of choice, not desperation. He strayed into stripping when other things didn’t work. He was a commercial artist before becoming a background dancer.

The future is clouded but he insists, even without asking, that he will remain a male stripper till age 45. “As long as I can keep my body, keep pumping, I will keep performing,” he says.

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