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Passion poison
- Debutant director Qaushik on how Bishh questions conventional morality.

Ekta kada Bangla cinema (a hard-hitting Bengali film)... goes the tagline of documentary maker Qaushik’s first feature film Bishh, which hits the theatres on March 6. Qaushik tells t2 how Bishh, starring Mallika Mazumdar, Tina and Rituparna Sen, stretches the limits of sexual morality...

You have changed the film’s title from 3X to Bishh. Was it censor problem?

It is indeed a censor-related decision. There are violent scenes and very harsh language. It is highly suggestive. The censor board saw these as part of the film and passed it with minimum cuts. They only requested us to change the name, which they thought would negate the seriousness of the film. Both Nitesh Sharma, the producer, and I thought it was fair.

Is Bishh still a bold film?

Yes. Like always.

Going by the trailer, Bishh has the look of a dark film...

Darkness is an inherent part of Bishh. We are dealing with hidden desires here. The characters are not happy, and the story springs out of their anguish. I feel darkness is much more exciting, visually and philosophically.

What is the mainstay of the film?

Qaushik

The story. The characters are not heroes. It’s not a tale of accomplishment. The story and the treatment are the central elements of the film.

Would you describe your film as sensitive or sensational?

It is both. Sensational is a misunderstood and often misrepresented word and sensitivity is a very personal opinion. We have tried to talk about sensitivity in a sensational way.

What makes Bishh stand out from the films made by GenX directors?

That’s for the audience to tell. I have tried to make it like no one else would. And I think there’s a bit more edge to this film than anything else that happens in this town.

How was the film born?

I have been working on the subject of sexuality for quite some time. My documentary film, Love in India, is a more intense look at sexuality. Bishh is another take on the central thought of sexual morality in our society. The way we look at sex is changing. The limits of our morality are being stretched, all around us. Bishh is an introspective response to what’s happening around me.

Your film focuses on women. Did you intentionally take a female scriptwriter?

Srabasti has written the script and choosing her was a deliberate decision. The concept of the film is male. The treatment is female. It’s the clash of genders that creates the crisis in the film. It was important for me to have that crisis physically in the film. Srabasti has done that.

Tell us about the film’s music...

The music has been scored by Indradeep. As we listened to the music, the cameraman Sunil and I responded to the visual style. The music led us to the look, the pace and the editing. Apart from the lilting Chena shohor sung by Radhica, there are four more tracks. Shilajit has sung the title track.

What are your expectations from the film?

I hope people watch it and react. It would greatly disappoint me if someone doesn’t think about the film afterwards. Good, bad or ugly, there will be a reaction.


Mallika Mazumdar:

Bishh has an intriguing storyline. It revolves around three characters who meet at a coffee shop one night and decide to live like men. I play the soft and reticent Shoumi, who was a bubbly girl in college. Shoumi has a past, which is eventually revealed. I am very happy that I was offered the film and that too a lead role. I could relate to each and every dialogue in the script. And Qaushik was very helpful as a director.

 

Tina:

I play Anushka. She is soft, sensuous and sexy. But she goes through a lot of emotional turmoil. She is so overwhelming that even weeks after the shooting it was difficult for me to get over her.... Bishh is a hard-hitting film and since it is my first film I really worked hard. I was literally living the life of Anushka. Being a model, Bishh was a different experience for me. Acting and walking the ramp are two different things altogether.

 

Rituparna Sen:

I play Bee in Bishh and I am Anushka and Shoumi’s college friend. Mine is a very complex role and playing it was very tough. Bee is not a simple, straightforward girl. She is complicated, confused yet confident. Maybe that’s why she is called Bee. I almost lost my identity while getting into the skin of the character. I would have also loved to play Tina’s role, as she is very feminine and soft, and the audience will identify with her more than with Bee.

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