Are we there yet? When interrupted movie sex is more entertaining than the real thing

Nearly there, could-have-been and other anticlimactic encounters in the movies over the years.

The earworm Ban Ja Rani from Suresh Triveni’s recent hit Tumhari Sulu continues a unique tradition in Hindi cinema: the celebration of interrupted sex.

Housewife Sulochana (Vidya Balan) is known to speak her mind, and her intentions are clear when she tells her husband Ashok (Manav Kaul) that his mouth has not been put to proper use of late. They pack off their son on an errand one afternoon and launch into an elaborate seduction dance. The song’s climax is an anticlimax: their son returns from his errand before time, proving that foreplay is definitely overrated.

Ban Ja Rani, Tumhari Sulu (2017).

The idea that anticipated coitus is more fun when interruptus is a well-established element of Hindi film romance. Popular Hindi cinema has certainly become less squeamish and more tasteful about the various stages of sexual activity. When on-screen couples hug or kiss or make love these days, the heroes do not look like perverts and the heroines do not resemble deer facing headlights. Although the days of the woman trembling in terror from her man’s advances are not behind us – witness Shraddha Kapoor quivering on her wedding night in Haseena Parkar (2017) – big-budget Bollywood has definitely overcome some of its icky attitudes towards sex.

However, the idea of the build-up being more important than the act itself is probably closer to Indian reality. Numerous movies have explored this sad truth in a country with conservative attitudes towards sexual pleasure, nosy family members and the lack of privacy.

Basu Chatterji made a whole movie on the effect of cramped living quarters on the sex lives of a newly married couple. In Piya Ka Ghar (1972), a remake of the Marathi movie Mumbaicha Jawai (1971), Ram (Anil Dhawan) and Malti (Jaya Bhaduri) learn the hard way that a joint family is not conducive to marital bliss. After several thwarted encounters, the couple finally get what they have been seeking a few minutes before the end credits. The lyrics of the movie’s most popular song sums up Ram’s frustration: Yeh jeevan hai, is jeevan ka, yahi hai, yahi hai, yahi hai rang roop.”

Yeh Jeevan Hai, Piya Ka Ghar (1972).

The wedding night sequence, another disappearing practice in movies that are far less moralistic than before about pre-marital sex, is all about the ritualistic preparations: the bed strewn with roses, the glass of milk borne by the shy bride, the groom bursting out of his sherwani, and the blurred-out editing transition that suggests that the deed has taken place off-screen.

Not all wedding nights unfold as prescribed. In Vijay Anand’s Blackmail (1973), Kailash (Dharmendra) is all set for the big moment when he learns that his bride Asha (Raakhee) has jilted his friend Jeevan (Shatrughan Sinha). Unaware that he is being sucked into Jeevan’s scheme to separate the couple, Kailash euphemistically tells Asha that he cannot accept her and proceeds to sleep in an adjoining room. The couple finally succumb to their mutual desire in the fabulously filmed Mile Mile Do Badan.

Blackmail (1973). Courtesy RK Studios.
Blackmail (1973). Courtesy RK Studios.

Euphemism also comes handy in Dharmesh Darshan’s Dhadkan (2000). Anjali (Shilpa Shetty) loves Dev (Suneil Shetty) but is forced to marry the saintly but also conveniently wealthy Ram (Akshay Kumar). On their wedding night, Anjali rejects Ram’s overtures, and his response earns him a place in the pantheon of gods. I will not any forge any kind of relationship with you without your consent, Ram tells Anjali before offering a platonic compromise: they will sleep at their respective corners on their silken-sheeted bed. The distance is shrunk minutes before the interval, at which point Dev lands up to wreck the marriage.

Other memorable wedding night fiascos include Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Romeo and Juliet adaptation Goliyon Ki Raasleela Rameela (2013). A hot and heavy build-up involving elaborate choreography between the glistening bodies of Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone proves to be a time-wasting exercise. Ram is tricked away by his friends while Leela is abducted by her family. They remain on opposite sides of the divide until the tragic end, when Leela sadly tells her ribald husband that while he has managed to experience sexual pleasure, she never got the chance.

Hence the American saying “Cut to the chase.”

Ang Laga De Re, Goliyon Ki Raasleela Rameela (2013).

In Mani Ratnam’s Roja (1992), the union between Rishi (Arvind Swamy) and the titular heroine (Madhoo) has to wait until they move to Kashmir, where he has been posted as a cryptographer. Roja has married Rishi against her will, and she signals her displeasure by sleeping on the floor on their first night together. She has been clearly unmoved by the suggestive choreography in the song Rukmani Rukmani that is staged after the wedding ceremony. The tension builds up until Roja realises that she has erred in her decision. It takes another song, Yeh Haseen Vadiyan, for Roja to finally give in to Rishi.

Obstructed sex also features in Ratnam’s Dil Se, in which Amar (Shah Rukh Khan) comes dangerously close ever so often to the mysterious Meghna (Manisha Koirala), only to be derailed each time by forces beyond his control. The one time they finally embrace, Eros turns into Thanatos. Meghna is a suicide bomber, and Amar wraps himself around her to prevent her from killing anybody else.

Dil Se. Courtesy Madras Talkies.
Dil Se. Courtesy Madras Talkies.

Sex proves to be just as deadly in Rakesh Sawant’s Wafaa: A Deadly Love Story (2008). It is billed as Rajesh Khanna’s comeback but better known as the movie that fans of the 1970s star would rather erase from memory. Business tycoon Amritlal (Khanna) and Beena (Pakistani actress Laila Khan) are deeply in love, but every time Amritlal responds to his wife’s uninhibited lovemaking, he is consumed by an asthma attack. As Amritlal gasps for breath and reaches for his inhaler, Beena flees the bedroom in anguish. Beena eventually takes refuge in the arms of younger and hunkier men, with predictably tragic consequences.

Endlessly mediocre from start to finish, Wafaa is best known for its soft-core scenes, Khanna’s bedroom antics, and Laila Khan’s deep breathing. It is a wonder that asthmatics did not sign a petition against the movie, although anecdotal evidence suggests a spike in online searches for “Does asthma hinder sex?”

Wafaa: A Deadly Love Story (2008).
Wafaa: A Deadly Love Story (2008).

In the case of some couples, scheming family members prevent spouses from fulfilling their social duties. In Indra Kumar’s Beta (1992), Laxmi (Aruna Irani) has severely infantilised her stepson Raju (Anil Kapoor) in order to maintain control over the family fortune. Raju nevertheless displays a streak of rebellion by marrying the headstrong Saraswati (Madhuri Dixit). Laxmi tries her next best tactic: she tells Saraswati that if the marriage is consummated, Raju will die.

For some other lovers, conscience prevents them from heeding the stirrings in their loins. In Feroz Khan’s howlarious Prem Aggan (1998), Suraj (Fardeen Khan) and Sapna (Meghna Kothari) shed most of their clothes before an inviting fireplace. Sapna implores Suraj to give her the “haseen dard” (sweet pain) that only lovers may know, and Suraj enthusiastically obliges before pulling away at the nth minute. Let’s wait until our wedding, he tells Sapna. She agrees, and tells Suraj that she was only testing him. File away under “Having your cake and eating half of it before throwing it away.”

Fardeen Khan and Meghna Kothari in Prem Aggan (1998). Courtesy FK International.
Fardeen Khan and Meghna Kothari in Prem Aggan (1998). Courtesy FK International.

Interruptus also involves husbands lusting for women who are not their wives. In Anees Bazmee’s aptly titled No Entry (2005), a remake of the Tamil movie Charlie Chaplin (2002), Kishen (Anil Kapoor) pants for the beauteous Bobby (Bipasha Basu). Kishen nearly manages to fulfill his fantasies but again, it’s the dratted Hindi movie song that plays spoilsport. By the time Kishen reaches the place where he needs to be, his wife Kajal (Lara Dutta) has burst into the room.

In Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan (2015), interrupted sex has deeply tragic consequences. A highly awaited encounter between Devi (Richa Chadha) and her boyfriend Piyush is ruined by a raid by a corrupt police inspector. The boyfriend kills himself out of shame, and armed with an incriminating video of a semi-clad Devi, the inspector blackmails her father (Sanjay Mishra).

Devi retreats into a catatonic state, and finally achieves peace only in the final sequence. This is one of the few movies in which the idea of sexual obstruction achieves larger meaning, reaching beyond the body and travelling into the soul.

Richa Chadha in Masaan. Courtesy Drishyam Films.
Richa Chadha in Masaan. Courtesy Drishyam Films.
We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Putting the patient first - insights for hospitals to meet customer service expectations

These emerging solutions are a fine balance between technology and the human touch.

As customers become more vocal and assertive of their needs, their expectations are changing across industries. Consequently, customer service has gone from being a hygiene factor to actively influencing the customer’s choice of product or service. This trend is also being seen in the healthcare segment. Today good healthcare service is no longer defined by just qualified doctors and the quality of medical treatment offered. The overall ambience, convenience, hospitality and the warmth and friendliness of staff is becoming a crucial way for hospitals to differentiate themselves.

A study by the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions in fact indicates that good patient experience is also excellent from a profitability point of view. The study, conducted in the US, analyzed the impact of hospital ratings by patients on overall margins and return on assets. It revealed that hospitals with high patient-reported experience scores have higher profitability. For instance, hospitals with ‘excellent’ consumer assessment scores between 2008 and 2014 had a net margin of 4.7 percent, on average, as compared to just 1.8 percent for hospitals with ‘low’ scores.

This clearly indicates that good customer service in hospitals boosts loyalty and goodwill as well as financial performance. Many healthcare service providers are thus putting their efforts behind: understanding constantly evolving customer expectations, solving long-standing problems in hospital management (such as long check-out times) and proactively offering a better experience by leveraging technology and human interface.

The evolving patient

Healthcare service customers, who comprise both the patient and his or her family and friends, are more exposed today to high standards of service across industries. As a result, hospitals are putting patient care right on top of their priorities. An example of this in action can be seen in the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. In July 2015, the hospital launched a ‘Smart OPD’ system — an integrated mobile health system under which the entire medical ecosystem of the hospital was brought together on a digital app. Patients could use the app to book/reschedule doctor’s appointments and doctors could use it to access a patient’s medical history, write prescriptions and schedule appointments. To further aid the process, IT assistants were provided to help those uncomfortable with technology.

The need for such initiatives and the evolving nature of patient care were among the central themes of the recently concluded Abbott Hospital Leadership Summit. The speakers included pundits from marketing and customer relations along with leaders in the healthcare space.

Among them was the illustrious speaker Larry Hochman, a globally recognised name in customer service. According to Mr. Hochman, who has worked with British Airways and Air Miles, patients are rapidly evolving from passive recipients of treatment to active consumers who are evaluating their overall experience with a hospital on social media and creating a ‘word-of-mouth’ economy. He talks about this in the video below.


As the video says, with social media and other public platforms being available today to share experiences, hospitals need to ensure that every customer walks away with a good experience.

The promise gap

In his address, Mr. Hochman also spoke at length about the ‘promise gap’ — the difference between what a company promises to deliver and what it actually delivers. In the video given below, he explains the concept in detail. As the gap grows wider, the potential for customer dissatisfaction increases.


So how do hospitals differentiate themselves with this evolved set of customers? How do they ensure that the promise gap remains small? “You can create a unique value only through relationships, because that is something that is not manufactured. It is about people, it’s a human thing,” says Mr. Hochman in the video below.


As Mr. Hochman and others in the discussion panel point out, the key to delivering a good customer experience is to instil a culture of empathy and hospitality across the organisation. Whether it is small things like smiling at patients, educating them at every step about their illness or listening to them to understand their fears, every action needs to be geared towards making the customer feel that they made the correct decision by getting treated at that hospital. This is also why, Dr. Nandkumar Jairam, Chairman and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia, talked about the need for hospitals to train and hire people with soft skills and qualities such as empathy and the ability to listen.

Striking the balance

Bridging the promise gap also involves a balance between technology and the human touch. Dr. Robert Pearl, Executive Director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, who also spoke at the event, wrote about the example of Dr. Devi Shetty’s Narayana Health Hospitals. He writes that their team of surgeons typically performs about 900 procedures a month which is equivalent to what most U.S. university hospitals do in a year. The hospitals employ cutting edge technology and other simple innovations to improve efficiency and patient care.

The insights gained from Narayana’s model show that while technology increases efficiency of processes, what really makes a difference to customers are the human touch-points. As Mr. Hochman says, “Human touch points matter more because there are less and less of them today and are therefore crucial to the whole customer experience.”


By putting customers at the core of their thinking, many hospitals have been able to apply innovative solutions to solve age old problems. For example, Max Healthcare, introduced paramedics on motorcycles to circumvent heavy traffic and respond faster to critical emergencies. While ambulances reach 30 minutes after a call, the motorcycles reach in just 17 minutes. In the first three months, two lives were saved because of this customer-centric innovation.

Hospitals are also looking at data and consumer research to identify consumer pain points. Rajit Mehta, the MD and CEO of Max Healthcare Institute, who was a panelist at the summit, spoke of the importance of data to understand patient needs. His organisation used consumer research to identify three critical areas that needed work - discharge and admission processes for IPD patients and wait-time for OPD patients. To improve wait-time, they incentivised people to book appointments online. They also installed digital kiosks where customers could punch in their details to get an appointment quickly.

These were just some of the insights on healthcare management gleaned from the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. In over 150 countries, Abbott is working with hospitals and healthcare professionals to improve the quality of health services.

To read more content on best practices for hospital leaders, visit Abbott’s Bringing Health to Life portal here.

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the marketing team and not by the editorial staff.