LESSONS FROM 'THE DIRTY PICTURE'
The movie, The Dirty Picture, starring Vidya Balan, created a tremendous buzz in India and across the world. This movie grossed Rs. 50 crores within one week of its release. "It had the biggest opening ever for a woman-oriented film in the history of Indian Cinema," reported The Times of India. Can we glean out lessons for purity from this movie? Yes we can!
This movie is based on the life of Silk Smitha, though there is an explicit denial of this by the movie makers. Can it be a mere coincidence that the movie released on the same day the real Silk Smitha was born -- December 2nd? As one website put it, "(This movie) is an unofficial biopic around the life and upheavals of Southern sex symbol Silk Smitha." What was the end of Silk Smitha’s life like? She committed suicide by hanging from a ceiling fan in her bedroom in Chennai on September 23, 1996, when she was just 36 years of age, leaving a suicide note that talked about several failures and financial difficulties. The years of having men lust over her body through her erotic performances on screen, the years of having affairs with several men, the years of alcohol consumption, the years of making a quick buck from the movie world by compromising her moral values, did not satisfy the inner longings of her soul. Vidya Balan, talking about the character ‘Silk’ she played in the movie says, "She has no restraint. Some may feel that she is shameless. I think she is a girl who wants to enjoy the pleasure of life at every opportunity. Whatever she feels, she says it and whatever she wants to do, she does it..." This sort of ‘bold’ behaviour left her in the ‘cold’-feeling empty, dejected and depressed. It left her reeling in loneliness that she decided to end it all.
‘Silk Smithas’ In The Bible!
In the Bible, we get to meet a ‘male Silk Smitha.’ Bemused? Don’t be. I want to refer to Ahitophel, the counsellor to the kings of Israel as the ‘male Silk Smitha.’ While Silk Smitha was the most famous item number dancer of the South India Film Industry in the 1980s, Ahitophel was the most trusted advisor to the kings of Israel. Both reached the pinnacle of their professions in their times. Having reached the pinnacle of their careers, both suddenly faced failures. While Silk Smitha faced competition from other item-number dancers, Ahitophel’s advice was ignored. Ahitophel’s sad end came after he committed suicide, just like Silk’s -- the Bible reveals (2 Sam 17:23). Unable to face failures in their professional lives, both of them tragically ended their lives. What Silk Smitha and Ahitophel did not perhaps realise when they committed suicide was that they couldn’t really kill themselves. The real persons inside this duo--their souls--continued to live long after their body became lifeless following their shocking suicides. Yes, each one of us has a soul inside of us which will go on to live forever and ever. This is what the Bible teaches. God has placed, eternity in our hearts -- this is the teaching of the Bible (Eccl. 3:11).
In the Bible, we meet yet another Silk Smitha--we can see the woman from Samaria that Jesus met at a well. The woman from Samaria perhaps thought to herself that if she drank the water called ‘love of a man’ she would find true satisfaction in her life. She was married to five different men, one after the other. Marriage number 1, perhaps failed and she sought solace in Marriage number 2. Then Marriage number 2, too failed. This went on till Marriage number 5. After each such sour relationship, she became frustrated and sincerely believed ‘another husband who was different’ would make her life ultimately happy. But she could not find that elusive happiness. She could not find in sin, what she entered sin to find. Sin did not satisfy her soul’s inner longings! When she met Jesus at the well, she was in her relationship number 6 -- a relationship that involved living-in with a man, a relationship that involved, most certainly, sex outside the boundaries of marriage. What Jesus told her was in effect this: "If you drink the water of sex, you will thirst again. If you drink the water I give you (in other words, if you have a living, daily relationship with Me), then you will never thirst again!"
I believe, we meet another Silk Smitha in the Bible in the person who authored the book of Ecclesiastes who was King Solomon, perhaps. "I tried cheering myself with wine," he writes (Eccl 2:3). In the movie, The Dirty Picture, Silk played by Vidya Balan, drowns herself drinking alcoholic drinks when the going in her personal and professional life become tough and rough. But wine, could not ultimately bring meaning into his life, the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes ultimately discovered to his utter dismay (Eccl. 2:11). "Life under the sun was meaningless unless one has a relationship with the one above the Sun--even God!" --that was the message he tried to convey in this key Bible book (Eccl 2:25). Silk, too, discovered that wine-addiction, ultimately left her only to whine, one fine day. The beer habit, instead of cheering her, irreversibly wove the option of suicide into her thoughts, and drove her deep into the bottomless well of depression.
Saviour For All Silk Smithas!
Yes, you could chase all the pleasures in the world in a desperate effort to discover happiness and peace, like Silk did. But the pleasures of the world will not offer true happiness and peace--you will soon discover that. Only a daily, deep, relationship with Jesus--the One who died on the Cross for each one of us--will give us true happiness, peace, meaning and purpose. The punishment that brings us true peace was upon Jesus while He hung on the Cross, the Bible declares (in Isa. 53). Silk Smitha ended her life deeply disappointed with all what soft porn movies, sex in front of the camera, illicit relationships, lots of money, overdose of alcohol, etc, could have ever offered her. If you chase the very things she chased -- sex, silver, soul-mates, Scotch, stardom, etc--or those of that kind, you too will be disappointed. Come to Christ, the one who explicitly said that He came to give you life -- life to the full (Jn. 10:10)! And you will not be disappointed! And you will find true peace and lasting joy. A loving relationship with Jesus, the only God who revealed Himself in the flesh, would be 'enough' to satisfy the inner longings of the human soul, the Bible reveals (Jn. 14:5,6). What’s more, when you come to Jesus in true repentance, your sins -- even if they are uncountable and even unprintable -- will be purged clean through the blood He shed for us on the Cross. This is a promise of God in the Bible who never tells a lie (cf. Isa 1:18).
If we pursue a living relationship with Jesus in our lives, our soul will be joyous on this side of eternity, while we are still on this earth. Not only that -- we will join Jesus after death to live with Him forever after our soul will be reunited with our resurrected bodies. On the other hand, if we reject Jesus, our souls, along with its resurrected bodies, will go to a place of torment that Jesus often talked about called Hell (See Dan. 12:2). This is the teaching of the Bible. So, what would you decide to do? What choice would you make? Would you reject Christ, live a life of living hell and go to literal hell? Or, would you live in Christ, experience the peace and joy He alone can give, and go to heaven to enjoy him, forever? I hope your choice will be wise.
Vidya Balan, the leading lady of The Dirty Picture, has worn ‘itsy bitsy clothes, generous cleavage-revealing blouses.’ Vidya Balan said this in an interview talking about the character she played in the movie. "She feels that my body is great and people like to see it, so why not show it? She is not self-conscious. She does not hesitate." What would God think of this kind of external attire that reveals the body, more than hiding it, which has become increasingly common place in our planet? We need to turn to the Bible, God’s Word, to know the answer for this oft-asked but rarely-answered question. There are those who immediately say, "God cares only about my heart -- what I am on the inside! He doesn’t care about what I wear on the outside!" Well. Well. Well. It is quite true that God cares for the internal condition of our heart rather than our external appearance. Think of what God told Prophet Samuel -- "the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart" (I Sam. 16:7). But that does not mean it does not matter how one dresses. In the same Bible, we read that "our unpresentable parts (we know what those parts are) are (to be) treated with greater modesty" (I Cor. 12:23, ESV). Is it sad that, in our present world, the unpresentable body parts are treated with lesser modesty, in clear violation of both God’s expectations and the conscience-inscribed opinion that a woman’s nakedness belongs to the eyes of her husband alone (which the Bible also explicitly teaches in Leviticus 18 -- read that chapter in the KJV)! Our dressing can reflect popular fashion -- it can indeed be modern -- as long as it is ‘modest.’ This is a clear directive from the Word of God (I Tim. 2:9). We must not allow the world to ‘squeeze us into its mould’ (Rom. 12:2, JB Phillips Version). That God would be pretty upset when revealing attire is worn can be understood by this, His statement to His spiritual wife recorded in the Bible: "But now bring charges against Israel--your mother--for she is no longer my wife, and I am no longer her husband. Tell her to remove the prostitute’s makeup from her face and the clothing that exposes her breasts" (Hos. 2:2,NLT).
Going by all the Scriptures that have been quoted above, the wearing of revealing outfits and desirously and deliberately watching those that wear them (unless the person you are watching is your spouse in a private setting!) is something which clearly displeases God and is a sin against him. And these should be shunned. Yes, these should be given a skip. Of course, these should be avoided at all costs. When we resolve to be pure, even in areas such as this, there is a big blessing awaiting us and it is a guilt-free conscience and a stress-free marital bond. Stephen Arterburn talks about this. He writes, "You are sexually pure when no sexual gratification comes from anyone or anything but your wife (including from a lingering, lustful, long look at semi-clad Vidya Balan of movie, I would say). To attain sexual purity... we must starve our eyes of the bowls of sexual gratification that come from outside of marriage. When you starve your eyes and eliminate 'junk sex' from your life, you’ll deeply crave -- the real sexual food that God authorises you to have-- 'your wife'! (Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time, p. 138, with my inputs). Job says, "I made a solemn pact with myself never to undress a girl with my eyes" (Job 31:1, The Message). Shall we take the cue from Job about whose purity, even God testified positively about to Satan, and start deliberately ‘bouncing off’ our eyes from sexually-stimulating sources, enabled by fruit of Holy Spirit which is self-control, the way we ‘bounce off’ our eyes when we see an electric welding fire arc? And shall we truly say, "I made a solemn pact with myself never to desirously look at the person of the opposite gender who is not my spouse, in a state of total undress or semi-undress, with my eyes?" If we did, our Maker would be mighty pleased. If we did that, we would have learnt a crucial purity lesson from the The Dirty Picture!