Compulsive drinking, smoking, casual sex, free swearing and self-pleasure aren't often associated with Bollywood's portrayal of Indian women. However, the Film "Veere Di Wedding [VIDEO]" seems to be challenging the stereotypical roles which women are often assigned in the Indian film industry by displaying female sexuality in a first for Bollywood.

The comedy features four childhood friends played by Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Shikha Talsania and Swara Bhaskar who live in Delhi’s affluent southern neighbourhoods and reunite for one of their weddings. A massive success, the film has managed to break records on its first day at the box office in India by becoming the highest opening day earnings for a Hindi film with female protagonists and has earned a massive $7.8m (£5.8m) in India so far, according to Box Office India.

Controversial scene

Despite the high grossing sales, however, the film has drawn controversy across social media for featuring a scene whereby Swara Bhaskar’s character masturbates using a vibrator – the first time such a scene has appeared in Hindi cinema.

Despite Bollywood's notoriously conservative censoring board which banned the Hollywood film "Love, Simon", which depicts a teenage homosexual relationship, the scene survived but the vibrator was ordered to be blurred out.

Regardless of the vibrator blurring, the scene has still been widely condemned across social media platforms. In one widely circulated post on Twitter, a person claims to have taken his grandmother to the film and says they were embarrassed and ashamed which many others agreed with. Coincidently, so many people have agreed with this sentiment using a similar lexicon that there is a rising suspicion that this is part of a campaign organised against the film and directly against Swara Bhaskar who is one of the few Bollywood actors to regularly speak out against intolerance, sexual harassment and religious nationalism.

Some social media commentators have pointed out that it is simply a film about women having fun while others have ignored the feminist ideology and said that they just don't think it is a well-produced film.

Female sexuality

The movie has brought up the taboo subject of female sexuality once again and it's about time we discussed it openly. Comparing male and female sexuality is one of the simplest ways to highlight the double standards which plague our society. While the notion of slut and stud has finally begun to dwindle due to social media exposure, we are still made to feel uncomfortable with women embracing themselves as sexual beings.

Bollywood and India's uneasy relationship with female sexuality last cropped up last year with the release of the film "Lipstick Under My Burkha" which was criticised and also placed on a temporary ban for being too "lady-oriented" and containing too many sex scenes as well as using abusive language. Yet I've never seen any other films in the industry labelled as too "man-oriented." It is clear India still has an issue with accepting that women can also be sexual beings.

There is also the idea that men shouldn't embrace their sexuality either. In fact, I wrote a similar article covering this a year ago about "Lipstick Under My Burkha" in a national newspaper in my home country and it was removed as it was deemed too controversial. However, I encountered a comment which questioned why women should imitate the 'bad' things that men do.

That's the thing. Sex and masturbation are natural, not bad and if we are accepting that men can be sexual beings then it is time we begin accepting that women can also be sexual beings.