Peeing in public is the one male privilege Indian men exercise all the time without thinking twice about it. In a country where sanitation facilities are scarce, it's understandable that sometimes, there are no options left. Obviously, holding your bladder is too "womanly" an option.
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Apparently, the true sign of a friendship is peeing together in public. And if you thought this sentiment was restricted to Big Bad Bollywood, you couldn't be more wrong.
Here's the poster for Kadavul Irukaan Kumaru (2016) which has RJ Balaji and GV Prakash peeing on a wall in public in celebration of their bromance. The same film has a cringe-worthy comedy sequence that involves the two friends trying to find a place to defecate in the open.
Arguably, cinema takes inspiration from reality and it's not as if films should only portray perfect people and their perfect lives.
After all, when men do pee in public together, why shouldn't it be shown in film? However, what's interesting is how peeing in public is portrayed as some kind of male bonding ritual and normalized just as a number of other essentially "masculine" acts like violence and aggression are.
Then there's comedy. Potty humour is fine. It can be really funny too. But why is just showing a man peeing funny?
This is a popular comedy sequence from "Chocolate" in which Prithviraj, a student in a women's college (yes, you read that right), opens the newspaper cover of a sanitary napkin package thinking it's bread and then proceeds to trying to find a place to pee in a women's college because his bladder is full.
In the same movie, there is a scene where the three male leads pee on the road after getting drunk. And there's the famous "kindi" joke from "Manichitrathaazhu" which dutifully made it to all its remakes. There are so many examples of this celebration of male "privilege" which are meant to be comedy. But why are we expected to roll around in our chairs just because a person with poor civic sense is spraying the road like an animal?
Comedy requires effort and brains. Whipping an organ out to provoke laughter is all right till you're about five years of age. After that, it's about as funny as disease.
There are millions in the country who do not have access to sanitation facilities and are forced to relieve themselves in the open. The Tamil film Joker has dealt with the issue sensitively and comprehensively.
But on the other hand, we have enough people with access to sanitation facilities, educated people who are aware of the health issues that arise from poor sanitation, coolly performing an unhygienic act only because they can get away with it, thanks to their gender and the acceptance that society offers. Frankly, the situation stinks.