I am looking at a report that claims that India’s first porn star is dead.

Do not be too alarmed, dear reader. I should tell you, even without your having to follow the link, that she’s not a human actress but a comics character, named Savita Bhabhi. And she’s “dead” because she’s been banned by the Indian government.


Savita’s creator tells us what she’s about in an interview:

Bhabhi is the Indian version of a MILF. Though in literal terms it means your “brother’s wife” that is not the meaning here. For an Indian youngster his first fantasy is normally the newly married hot woman in the neighborhood who is referred to as a hot Bhabhi. Hence it seemed only natural that our hot heroine whom the entire neighborhood lusts after be called Savita Bhabhi.

Hot indeed.


Savita makes for interesting reading. This is certainly hardcore, albeit not very kinky. (In one of her own dreams she is menaced by some dacoits, but they don’t stay menacing for very long.) It’s appealing to see this voluptuous, mature woman having so many adventures which she seems to be pretty clearly in charge of.

I do not know why she has been banned. Porn is generally illegal in India, and much of Indian popular entertainment looks pretty chaste to my relatively untrained eyes. Or, at least it does to a first-order approximation. I’ve seen my share of Bollywood movies, and these have contained no sex, no nudity, no kissing even. Though they have featured gorgeous actresses wearing saris in a way that brings the phrase “poured into” to mind performing in extended musical numbers. Which often are set in the rain for some reason: go figure.

Pete Tombs, in his offbeat survey of world cinema Mondo Macabro (which it has been my pleasure to reference here before indicates that there is something of a Malayalam-language sex film industry in Kerala . I have not yet been able to nerve up to walk into my local video store and ask the clerk if he could recommend anything in Malayalam.

All the same, I still don’t quite grok the prudery of Indian officialdom. Don’t they realize their country is home and mother to one of the world’s great artistic treasures, as well as one of the most extraordinary pieces of erotica ever created, the temple sculptures at Khajuraho?


Clearly Savita’s inspiration runs deep into the history of Indian art. I hope the government does not intend to ban that as well.

I have a very learned friend, a gentleman and a scholar whose knowledge of South Asia far surpasses anything I shall ever have. I asked him about Savita. He commented that he thought that it was an exaggeration and perhaps meaningless to see her as “India’s first porn star.” While porn is illegal in India, it does in fact circulate in many forms. There is definitely a Malayalam-language sex film industry and, more surprisingly (to me, anyway) there is also a homegrown porn industry among Pashtuns. The Pashtuns are also the primary ethnic constituency for the Taliban, which just goes to show that the World is Very Complicated. My friend noted the existence of “…samizdat cartoons that circulate during the carnivalesque Hindu festival of Holi, in which the participants in all sorts of exuberant acts are often political figures.” [Bacchus intrudes with an editorial bellow: “Pictures! I want pictures!”]

That sounds to me like a cultural tradition which should be exported.

My friend noted also that in the Shimla picture reproduced above, Savita appears to resemble a 1980s Bollywood superstar Sridevi. And also that that the vermilion in her hair is the mark of a married Hindu woman (this is also fairly obvious from the underlying text of the comic) — every act she performs with the reader’s surrogate subject is an act performed in deception of her husband, “your” fictive elder brother figure.

He had much more than I could cover in this blog post — he should be blogging with us!

But is Savita really dead? Don’t count on it. From where I blog anyway, her site seems very much alive. Go have a look.