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The Art of Seduction: Indian History and Bollywood's Influence

The term "seduction" has undergone a significant transformation, and in certain cultures, including India, it has become almost taboo. This shift mirrors broader societal changes. Historically, the arts of courtesanry and seduction were esteemed as sophisticated philosophies, mixed with divine and academic significance. Over time, these narratives have faded, and as the language surrounding seduction evolved, its connotations shifted in tandem with the changing collective mindset. What was once celebrated as an elevated form of intellectual and spiritual pursuit is now often viewed through a lens of moral apprehension.

The Art of Seduction: Indian History and Bollywood's Influence

Seduction was considered as an art and, when practiced carefully, it benefited the mind, the body and the soul because it gradually stirred up all the senses and activated the latent energy within us. Refinement was paramount — it elevated the human mind and prepared us for better things.

The idea of seduction should be a part of one’s everyday life. As Vatsyayan says, seduction is not an ‘event’ — it is not about ‘doing’ it for your partner, nor is it the exclusive property of people in relationships — seduction is for yourself, it should be a state of mind, something that puts a spring in your steps, and lilt in your voice. It’s not a confined word to one or two activities, it’s a dance of your whole body in which each body part coordinates and participates.

As conservative as Modern India might sound about the term “seduction”, our philosophers have written ‘Granths’ talking about this art form and explaining its importance in our life.

KamaSutra, the classic Sanskrit text which most of us have heard about, addresses the philosophy of love and seduction. The text goes beyond mere physical aspects, delving into the psychology of attraction and relationships.

JayaDeva was a 12th century poet who wrote ‘GitaGovinda’,  a lyrical work that explores the love between Krishna and Radha. This text includes descriptions of romantic seduction, highlighting its spiritual and emotional dimensions.

Some more philosophers like Abhinav Gupta and Sri Harsa have educated people about the art of seduction and its various dimensions. They explained how seduction is not only acting sexy or using sex or sexuality to attract someone, that it is only one part of the equation and that there are so many aspects to it. From changing how we speak , walk, interact, move our body, shake hands, smile to even changing our personality according to the person we are dealing with, the relation we have with that person, all these things are a part the whole.

The importance of how we dress and its impact on our personality, its impact on the other person’s mind, all these things have an in depth explanation in the Kamasutra. The text emphasizes that dressing well and personal grooming plays significant roles in attraction and maintaining romantic relationship, as it enhances an individual’s charm. The Kamasutra also mentions about dressing according to the occasion, as an appropriate attire is required to suit the mood and expectations of the situation.

Importance of adornment and accessories is also highlighted as jewelry, perfumes and other decorative items add to the overall appeal and attractiveness.

Our very own film Industry, Bollywood have somehow managed to show all these subtle but very important aspects of the art of seduction throughout the ages. Dancing in the rain, wearing a bright colored saaree, putting on kajal and bindi, wearing bangles all these were and still are the ways in which Bollywood shows blooming romance, dominance of the female lead in the flirting game.

The male lead usually by saving the girl, becoming her knight in shining amour, making his intentions clear by singing songs with flirty lyrics, dancing to its beats enters the seduction game.

All these are soft seductive skills, charming someone with one’s innocence and vibrant personality. It’s nurturing and comforting in a sense.

Like Anjali in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Initially a college student, is portrayed as an outspoken and sporty personality. As her character matures, she becomes more traditional, capturing Rahul’s romantic interest.

Then we’ve the character of Pooh who has this glamorous persona through which she captivates us all in her grasp till date. Pooh is a self assured and fashion forward person who is unapologetically bold. The character is mostly remembered for her wit and sass. Her charm and persona makes her stand out in any crowd.

Several other such charectors are played by various other male-female actors like Vrarun Dhawan in Main Tera Hero and Salman Khan in Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, and then we’ve Katrina Kaif who through her innocence and self confidence captures the hearts of her audience and the male leads.

 But while there are these soft seductive skills there are also self educated people who know what to do with their seductive energies, there are actors who play seduction as it is the ornament to their personality. Songs with passionate lyrics, soft whispers in the ears, eye plays, biting their lips and talking in husky voices, all these are their weapons for developing tension.

And when we talk about such precision in these skills the first name that pops into our heads is none other than Emran Hashmi, with his exceptional acting skills and his passionate mysterious and seductive persona he has given us a number of films and songs to feel that energy grow within ourselves.

Other than him, in the movie Devdas, Paro uses her charm to manipulate Devdas emotionally, leading to tragic consequences whereas, Chandramukhi embodies sensuality, drawing Devdas into her world, showing two different ways of application of the same art form with their respective consequences.

In another movie Aitraaz, Priyanka Chopra’s character, Sonia, uses seduction as a weapon to manipulate her ex-lover and destroy his marriage.

All these characters might they be soft seducers or the players of this game, uses not only their physical allure but also dressing, intellect, wit, sass in order to bring out their complete personality and attract people around them, weather they have a mysterious aura or a vibrant personality like Geet, Bollywood have successfully shown us all the dimensions of this art form.

Hence, seduction in Bollywood has been a recurring theme, adding intrigue, passion, and complexity to films, and is no longer limited to physical allure; it can be intellectual, emotional, or manipulative. It has evolved from mere physical attraction to multifaceted expressions. It enhances films by adding complexity, tension, and emotional depth. Whether through dance, dialogue, or subtle glances, seduction remains a captivating element in Indian cinema.