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My idea of seduction doesn’t quite follow the “norm”. I don’t think seductive scenes have to be direct about sex or even show sex. Seduction is none of those things for me, rather it is pre-emptive behaviour; the connection of souls. Therefore, it only makes sense that my top 10 seductive scenes don’t fall under the direct category of seduction.
1) Devdas: Chandramukhi meeting Devdas for the first time
I hated Devdas. Dramatic sets and hammed acting; the only saving grace was Madhuri. And her entrance in the film was spectacular. Devdas walks in, his reflection appears in the mirror as Madhuri is getting ready and she is so mesmerised that she turns her hair smashes the mirror. Walking like a water nymph towards Devdas, she introduces herself and there begins the repertoire of poetry and some light banter, and a little physical interaction. The most seductive scene on the Indian celluloid. Add to the atmosphere, the light smoke, the white clothes and the voice of Pundit Birju Maharaj echoing in the background and you have the ultimate seduction.
2) Dil Se: Jiya Jale
So it isn’t a scene, I concede. But it is oh-so seductive! It deserves to be on the list especially with the lyrics, the music, and the choreography helping considerably. The lyrics of the song are about the wedding night and actually talk about sex without vulgarity or demeaning the act. It makes it sacred and almost dream-like. What you see in the song is Preity slowly falling for Amarkanth, while he is clearly in love with Meghna but then the song takes you to idyllic lakes and true Indian dancing. And there is no better seduction than dancing. There is a reason that courtesans were trained in the art of dancing.
3) Yuva: Lallan and Sashi after his release
One of my favourite films. Also one of my favourite couples (not Rani-Abhishek but Lallan-Sashi). Lallan was just released from prison and they are obviously very much in love with each other, despite their issues. And when he comes to get her, Sashi’s father and some other random relative are blockading at the door. And for those few seconds they are just looking at each other, completely oblivious to the world. Longing, desire, pain, disappointment and love in one glance. And to prove my point further, they made sure that at least three out of the five issues were dealt with as soon as they got home.
4) Dil To Pagal Hai: Rahul’s speech aimed at Pooja
This scene is enough to make my hormones go insane. But I am British which means my sexuality is a repressed. The background to this scene is that Rahul doesn’t believe in love and consequently marriage whereas Pooja is the ultimate romantic who believes in soul mates and destiny. During the course of their interactions, Rahul realises he is in love as does Pooja and uses the marriage of two of his troupe members as a platform to express his emotion. The speech is directly aimed at Pooja, and uses something she told him. Pooja gets the implication and seems unsettled about it. What follows is the inevitable expression of love (Bollywood ishtyle).
5) Parineeta: Shekhar and Lolita just prior going to Moulin Rouge
Shekhar has been forgotten in favour of the London-return Girish. Shekhar witnesses this and unbeknownst to him, is rather jealous. Soon after Lolita walks in, dressed to the nines, looking beautiful and Shekhar instead of being an adult uses the guitar to get her attention. When she finally pays attention, the angst in Shekhar and her oblivious nature are explosive. If, instead of letting Lolita walk out, he had grabbed her hand, we would have been privy to their marriage a lot sooner in the film.
6 Kisna: Sushmita Sen’s interruption
Sushmita Sen should have played ‘Umrao Jaan’. She has the voice and the Urdu dialect for it, but we’re not here to debate that. Sen played the courtesan in Kisna and from the moment you meet her, you realise she is privy to the fact that Kisna and his ladylove are on the run from the Raja. Naima Begum, notices this during the course of her performance and helps in their escape. As Catherine and her mother are about to escape, Raghuraj reappears in an attempt to stop them but Naima Begum appears and a voice sweet as honey, she engages the Raja long enough for Kisna to threaten him in the process allowing the fugitives to escape. The fact that the Raja doesn’t kill her is just proof that the seductress has worked like a charm.
7) Aaja Nachle: Imran and Anokhi during the rehearsal sequence
Towards the end of Ishq Hua, we see Anokhi for the beauty and not the tomboy that she is. You see her hair tamed and her “habit” addressed. You also see Imran for the first time, dressed in something other than his shirts and his bad temper has been left with those clothes it would seem. Anokhi acknowledges the look with a twinkle and movement of her eyes, while Imran seems to have acquired a slightly coy demeanour and they begin the dance step (that we first saw with anger and contempt). Sheer poetry in motion. Foreplay, without a doubt! Subtle, effective, and beautiful.
8) Don: When ‘Vijay’ finally controls Roma
Roma is the bereaved sister of a man who was killed by Don. Believing ‘Vijay’ to be Don she attacks him with full force and when he subdues her and there is this unspoken tension in the air. Had the inspector not walked in, things could have transpired that would have made the film a 15 to 18. A special mention for the sequence when Roma first ingratiates herself with Don and tries to kill him … sizzling! Reminds me of the Spike and Buffy moments.
9) Aaja Nachle: Dia and Uday in their first true battle of wits
This is an odd one to put in a list of seduction scenes but then again, I am odd, so deal with it. When Akshay comes up to Madhuri after the Aaja Nachle performance and they engage in banter. The chemistry is sizzling and there is electricity in the air. From that moment I knew they were going to pair Madhuri and Akshay (actually I knew that the moment they introduced him but this just confirmed it). Had they had more regular meetings like that, their relationship wouldn’t have remained so detached towards the end of the film. Seduction, animosity style. My favourite kind.
10) Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: Rahul and Anjali taking shelter after the rain
Does this even need an explanation? From the beginning of the film you are hoping they get together. But life strikes, they are separated and they meet again. Realising that he is in love with Anjali, Rahul finally decides to make his move after a game of charades where it started to pour. Taking refuge in a nearby shelter, he asks her to dance and as they dance the world just becomes magical and had the engagement ring not glinted at that precise moment… well we can imagine.