Once ubiquitous in so-called "morning shows" at theaters across the country, softcore films like "Biwi Anadi Sali Khiladi" "Innocent Wife, Cheating Sister-in-Law" and "Kaam Tantra" "Principles of Sex" have slowly disappeared from the big screen in India with the increasing availability of hardcore pornography on the internet. But now, as mainstream cinema sheds its former reticence about sex and female sexuality, Indians are beginning to take a second look at softcore porn, this time for what it says about Indian culture. This December, television soap magnate Ekta Kapoor will release "The Dirty Picture," a mainstream Bollywood biopic about Silk Smitha -- a skin-show specialist from the '80s who crossed over to perform sensuous so-called "cabaret" numbers in mainstream films. Sunil, whose personal poster collection is on display in the exhibition called "Morning Show. Before the globalization of sexuality that came with the internet, India's porn stars were big -- literally. Silk Smitha herself was no waif.
As a something, Cinemax was born around the same time I was. Of course, this practice was shared by other premium cable networks in the 90s, as well. However, it was Skinemax that many adolescents who came of age in the same era as I were likely most aware of, if only due to reputation. While I did not have Cinemax growing up, friends did… and, there were always the several free preview weekends of the premium cable networks each year. Nonetheless, I saw a handful of these films in my tween and teen years.
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Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil straightdope. Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks. I watched a fair amount of softcore porn because at one time I thought they might be going somewhere artistically, but over the years it has become evident that this is one medium that is not evolving. I've got a theory as to why this is so: softcore cable porn bears the same relation to real porn that elevator music bears to real music: it is the product of a corporate interest, not a human interest. That is to say, there is virtually no one who is a fan of sotftcore porn, who is interested in it and finds it compelling watching.