Erotic Review Magazine

India's first porn star: an interview with the creator

by Divya Khan / 12th September 2013

Indian women have sexual desires too...

In wake of the Delhi gang-rape scandal, India has been confronted with many stories of its alleged ‘rape culture’. But when we looked at Indian smut, we found that the nation has a surprisingly healthy attitude towards sex. Sex icon Savita bhabi – India’s first cartoon porn star – is nothing like her contemporaries in Japanese Hentai. Savita is bold, liberated and in control of the sex she’s having (usually behind her husband’s back). Savita bhabi’s website, which features sexy comic strips and erotic anime, draws 19.5 million visitors every month. Erotic Review had a chat with Deshmukh, creator of Savita bhabi and fell head over heels for India’s most beloved porn star.

1. Who was Savita bhabi inspired by and who was she created for?

It just came out of the blue. We were a group of friends sitting together on a weekend having a few drinks and talking. As it is normally with a bunch of drunken young men, the topic shifted to women and sex. One of our non-Indian friends remarked that even though Indian women were considered among the most sensuous in the world, we did not have a single really hot Indian porn star. That stirred up our discussion and we decided the next best thing to a real woman would be a cartoon porn star. One of my friends is an amateur artist and he came up with the first draft of SB. Initially there was a tossup between SB being a young Gujarati woman or a South Indian aunty. We went ahead and posted some threads on a forum asking people which they prefer. Savita as a young newly married woman won.

2. Deshmukh specialises in erotic material in cartoon form. Why have you and  your audience chosen anime instead of the real thing?

Comics are a medium through which we can really allow our creativity to go unbridled. Considering this had never been done before, I also thought the uniqueness of the medium would be a factor for success and it has proved right until now.

For one, it is a unique medium in the context of Indian porn. We’ve had multimedia text messages, videos, stories: but no porn comic. Also a comic strip allows us to explore the fantasy in a much more vivid way than any other medium.

3. The ideal woman, according to Hindu mythology is Sita, whose chastity, loyalty and fidelity are upheld by the religion as paragons of feminine virtue. Savita bhabi was quite an audacious assault on this idea of the ‘traditional Indian woman’ – she cheats on her husband and she enjoys sex outside marriage.

And yet Savita bhabi bears all the external hallmarks of a ‘traditional Indian woman’ with her bindi and mangalsutra. Are Indian women more like Sita or Savita and why?

Savita 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, who the entire neighborhood lusts after, be called Savita bhabhi.

In my opinion, today’s Indian woman is neither Sita nor Savita. She is someone who is looking to explore her sexuality, but not necessarily in the way Savita does.

4. Whilst Savita herself is bold and uninhibited, a lot of the male characters in the comic strip and cartoon are shy, awkward, adolescent or below her social status. Why have you chosen to put Savita bhabi in a position of power?

One of the reasons for creating SB was to also portray that Indian women have sexual desires too. India is a country which is still sexually repressed and I feel that for it to break the shackles, it is the women of India who are going to have to come out first. We are already seeing that in a way, and hopefully SB will do her bit to help in this revolution.

We set out to explore Indian sexuality. While I have to confess “women’s liberation” was not on the top agenda while creating savitabhabhi.com – it slowly metamorphosed into a graphic novel with the woman on top. Once we started getting feedback from women readers, we realized that this was an ideal platform to educate Indian men that women have sexual needs too.

5 Savita bhabi has been characterised as India’s first porn star. Yet Savita bhabi is an empowered woman, making her own choices. The cartoons are neither violent nor do they objectify women. Why do you think Indian authorities found Savita bhabi so threatening that they decided to ban the cartoon?

To be honest I was shocked! I never thought that the Indian government, with so many more important things to manage, would be spending their time trying to shut down a website based on a cartoon character. I heard of rumours but never thought it would really happen. In a way though it was validation for our work – if you’ve created something that Big Brother thinks is ban-worthy, then you know you’ve made a statement and that was our aim.

According to a Google Trends chart, the highest number of searches for pornography come from Sri Lanka and India.

According to a Google Trends chart, the highest number of searches for pornography come from Sri Lanka and India.

6. According to Google Trends, India and Sri Lanka top the chart for sex-related searches. Is India obsessed with sex?

I doubt that. ‘Sex’ is one of the top-searched keywords on Google worldwide. It’s just that there are a lot of English speaking folk in India which skews that statistic in our favour a bit.

Till a few years back, sex was completely taboo I would say. But now with the internet, Bollywood and the interaction of world cultures, I hope we can one day get to a stage where India is sexually liberated and we realize that sex is not something bad, but only natural.

7. Ancient India seems to be uniquely open about sex, like no other civilisation of its time. There are caves and temples with erotic sculptures; Hindu scriptures that include a sex manual.  Given that India has a remarkable candid attitude historically towards sex and sexuality, why has sex become such a taboo in Indian society?

India is opening up to sexuality and its various depictions. But in the past couple of years, the ‘moral police’ seems to have come out back in force with the agenda of pushing us back again. I do not think the general Indian man is a prude, but it is the agenda and actions taken by those in power which force him to keep his desires and thoughts to himself. This in turn, unfortunately leads them to be sexually frustrated. What we need is an open conversation about sex and sexuality in India, which was one of the reasons for creating Savita bhabhi.

8. The Delhi gang-rape at the beginning of this year has shone an unflattering light on the state of womens’ rights in India. What do you think is at the heart of this: why is there such a large amount of sexual violence in Indian society and why has it taken so long for India to begin to address this issue? Is sexual violence linked with pornography?

In response to the actual argument that porn encourages violence towards women, multiple studies worldwide have concluded the liberalisation of porn in society may actually be associated with decreased rape and sexual violence rates. Extreme criminals like rapists are not born out of watching pornography, they are a product of much more vicious economic and social factors of society.

You do not need a Savita bhabi or a porn film to corrupt minds. These protectors of morality are the same people who will leer even at a fully dressed woman shopping at the neighbourhood grocery store. Savita bhabhi was launched five years ago, porn on the internet came maybe 10 years ago – but sexual violence in India was rampant much before then. So who exactly are we blaming for that?

Rather than close our minds and denounce anything that makes us think of ourselves as evil, we need to do the opposite.

Indian women have sexual desires too...

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