Debonair: A Sad Sack Version Of Playboy & Maxim

June 07, 2006
Deepti Lamba

There was a time when the Indian magazine Debonair was supposed to be a subdued version of Playboy. It had racy pictures (babes always had their scanty clothes on with lewd poses on various bits and pieces of furniture) and the articles were quite salacious.

But when I picked up the magazine opposite Koshy's at the magazine wala who is considered to be one of the hallmarks of Bangalore he had a different story to tell. The magazine had nearly been banned a few years back, he told me and Playboy had yet not been able to make an entry into the Indian market.

He took pains to tell me that there was really no freedom of speech or expression in India. He was upset about a lot of things - the banning of the Da Vinci Code in certain states of India, the attacks against Hussein for his paintings and certain magazines becoming more and more like porn and yet others which would get more readership not being allowed into the Indian markets.

I stood under the canopy of his stall and listened to his words and the pitter patter of the torrential Bangalore rain. It all seemed to alien to me at that point. India, despite her call centers and big flashy malls still had long way to go.

The magazine stand guy and I were on the same page. It isn't porn that we are in favor of but the concept of freedom of speech and expression being curbed under the guise of morality. Till the time the stuff is being viewed by adults and does not deal with pedophilia or snuff I fail to see how it is anyone else's business.

As it is, the Bollywood suggestion of sex in the movies is far more vulgar than the act itself. The magazine stall guy continued rant about freedom of expression not existing in India but my interest in his rant began to wane. I began to leaf through the current Debonair and nearly fainted with what I found there - advice about how to deal with one's in-laws.

All of sudden, I felt I was reading Women's Era and not a racy magazine. The article talked about loving and respecting one's in-laws as they were the husband's parents and that they had brought him into this world. It further went on to state that the hallmark of a strong marriage was mutual trust and respect and attraction in a marriage could be maintained when the foundation was built on love and respect.

Sensible advice but on freakin' DEBONAIR? I was clearly floored. The magazine had degenerated into the worst kind of crap. The editors of the magazine were clearly trying to make it snazzy like Maxim by featuring cars and electronics along with supposedly hot babes and yet keep the moralistic humbugs happy by the auntyji advice.

I found myself picking holes in articles after articles. For example, any sexually active person knows that after doggie style penetration vaginal penetration is a no-no for health reasons. But the author of the article, Seducing A Woman In Style, seemed to be a porno fantasy trip of his own when he wrote the article,

So next time you and your girl are about to have sex: Turn her around, hold her wrists behind her back with one hand, and wrap your other hand around her hair, lightly pull her. Penetrate her doggie style. After a few minutes turn her around, place a hand over her neck and penetrate her frantically in the missionary position until you are done.

I nearly burst out laughing as I read that section but what came out was a hiccup. I folded the magazine within my outlook magazine, paid for it and exited.

On leafing through the magazine at home, I felt bad for the Debonair guys- the babes in the magazine were complete sad sacks and the magazine lacked over all gloss and style. It is no wonder that Indian 'racy' mags are doing so badly, lack of funds, lack of good models, the morality watch dogs breathing down their backs and stiff competition for filmy mags with hot stars dressed far more skimpy than their two cent models or beauty queens.

Maybe it's all for the best that Playboy without a desi version has not made an entry yet into the Indian scene; these guys and their likes would be wiped out.

Deepti Lamba is a writer, an editor for Desicritics. She can be found at Things That Bang
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June 7, 2006
03:35 PM


I found myself ...... until you are done

hmmmmm...ok a conjecture...i think the author is a dogged single cavity man

think have said enough;)

June 7, 2006
06:30 PM

Not only that, but you can't even find any decent Indian porn sites on the web. This is the one area of information technology that India is bizarrely lagging in. If you consider the revenue generation possibilities and the potential market size, there's bound to be a budding Hugh Hefner, Bob Guccione or BangBros out there.

June 7, 2006
06:49 PM

You know dee,
Sexual repression is one of the things that make me think 10 times to go back to India.

I prefer to be an H1B(eggar) slave here in the US than a sexually-repressed outsourcing slave in India.

Slaves we are, but here i feel better. No one cares a damn!

June 7, 2006
08:19 PM

[no personal attacks]

June 7, 2006
08:30 PM

[no personal attacks]

June 8, 2006
12:04 AM

the last time i heard 'until..done', was in a recipe book. i hope the context was not in a kitchen.

Or an infantile fantasy of missing riding the wooden horse?

A recipe for disaster? Debonair folks should know:-)

June 8, 2006
02:21 AM

Did u read that "Sex, Religion and Sensibility" post just 2 articles below this one. This is precisely the attitude I was trying to question. Blinded religious faith and miscontrued culture is the result of all this.

June 8, 2006
09:13 AM


woke up sometime during the night...a voice boomed orifice not cavities

tried in vain to wrestle

how do you wrestles with 'voices'?


June 8, 2006
09:16 AM

I think Mohammed did just that when he wrestled with Gabriel:)

June 8, 2006
09:43 AM


me temporal

me not walking in there


June 8, 2006
10:12 AM

The Satanic cave is deep
and Rushdie lies waiting inside
like a debonair
waiting for his

June 8, 2006
10:22 AM

rush is in no hurry to die
for he loves this temporal
existence much to much
(yeah another cliche)
and while am on a roll
undertsand there are
caves and caves
not to mention cavities
and orifices


deepti lamba
June 8, 2006
11:55 AM

Ah! best remain quiet and enjoy the poetic dawdling between the two orifice experts;)

Guys, I'm slow with my replies, dial up is the bane of my life. All I can say is that we need someone like Hugh Hefner to bring freedom of speech to India.

Sorry, didnt mean to break temporal's tempo;)

Deepti lamba
June 8, 2006
12:00 PM

Sorry, been a bit of a mix up thanks to a filled up cache. The above comment was not by Aaman but by me, deepti lamba

June 8, 2006
12:34 PM


who you calling 'two orifice experts'?...

digressionary courtroom drama:

milord! i object

i obect to s in experts

i object to two also

last i counted there were seven...yeah seven....

over ruled bailiff restrain and haul him away...........

deepti lamba
June 8, 2006
12:45 PM

Mayhaps you are talking about the Level 7 orgasm, oh orifice expert?

milord! there may be truth to his above statement, afterall.

June 8, 2006
12:47 PM

Actually, he's talking about 7 of the nine gates to heaven (or hell), as the case may be - the human body:)

June 8, 2006
01:24 PM


M chai maiN kiya milaya thaa?

deepti lamba
June 8, 2006
01:28 PM

Well, I was talking about the little death..

t, you mean hum teeno ke chai?

June 8, 2006
03:50 PM

milavat ki duniya me
milna hi sahi
milaya chai me kuch bhee
peena hi sahi

doston ki duniya me
rulana nahi
'must' is jinjageeme
rahega nahi
choice is dagar me
chalega kahi

Mayank 'Austen'
June 9, 2006
12:56 AM

Deepti, I share your concern for this woeful intolerance in India. We people are sort of barbarians who won't be ruffled by the burning and killing of innocent fellow human-beings, but are quickly upset if somebody wants to look at pictures of people making harmless love to each other!

Funny that you also mentioned 'Outlook' magazine in your piece. Do you know that Outlook editor Vinod Mehta (one of the most 'unpolluted' editor in the country presently) once used to edit Debonair?

June 9, 2006
10:09 PM

Outlook is blatantly left-wing. Mehta's jumped from one tabloid to another.

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