The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Double follows in Manisha footsteps

Mumbai, Aug. 31: Now for a bada sa twist in Chhotisi Love Story.

The controversial film may have ended up with no cuts after yesterday’s Bombay High Court order, but the fast evolving drama has just begun. Jessica, Manisha Koirala’s body double who did the “nude scenes”, today alleged that producer-director Shashilal Nair not only made her “expose more than previously agreed to” but also failed to protect her identity, which was an important part of the deal.

Looking disturbed in her small, overcrowded Kandivali flat, the 22-year-old part-time model says the controversy has ruined her reputation among the conservative Gujarati circle to which she belongs. Nair, she adds, should pay her Rs 10 lakh in damages as she is “sure” no decent or respectable role would come her way after her much discussed and maligned part in the film.

“I’m getting phone calls from my relatives spewing venom on me for doing the scenes in the film,” Jessica said. “The news is all over the country now and I cannot even go on explaining to everybody that I did those scenes only because I desperately needed some money for my mother’s cancer treatment.”

Jessica claims Nair had promised to protect her identity after paying her Rs 12,000 for the three-day shoot and another Rs 10,000 to file an affidavit in court saying she had been used as Manisha’s body double in the film. “But he has reneged on his promise. What I had to do eventually was not what was shown to me through sketches before the shoot.”

The college dropout says she will drag Nair to court if he fails to cough up the money. “How could he do this to me. I acted as Manisha Koirala’s body double in certain scenes only on the condition that neither my face nor my name would be revealed anywhere. But the media came to know about it and exposed it everywhere. Now everybody knows about me.”

Jessica also claims she did not know that Manisha had been objecting to the semi-nude scenes. “I would never have done the role had I known Manisha had problems with it. But I was not told anything.”

The allegations have come barely a day after Nair got a respite from the high court, which quashed Manisha’s appeal to delete the controversial scenes before the final screening. The actress had maintained that Nair inserted the “nude scenes” without her consent and approval.

Although judge F.I. Rebello observed that the controversial scenes were “integral” to the film and that he did not think they were obscene, Manisha’s suit against the director alleging breach of trust and defamation is still pending in court.

Jessica now maintains that the movie world is too slimy for her to survive. “I will quit films because it’s not a very nice place to be in,” she said. Apart from bit roles in TV serials, she has done a rape scene in a Bipasha Basu starrer, Footpath. All she wants to do now, Jessica says, is settle down and “be a good housewife”.

Sena salvo

The Shiv Sena today demanded censoring of “objectionable vulgar scenes” from Ek Chhoti si Love Story and alleged a conspiracy between the actress and the film’s director to gain publicity.

“It is indeed regrettable that for some money and cheap popularity, people in the film world are throttling Indian culture and values,” party senior Delhi unit leader Abhimanyu Gulati said in a statement here.

Alleging the controversy was created by Manisha “in connivance” with Nair “to lure the younger generation to the cinema halls to watch the movie”, he said the scenes would encourage western culture, illicit relationships and abortions.

Gulati, who had earlier spearheaded an agitation against Valentine’s Day celebrations in the capital, urged the censor board to delete the “vulgar and objectionable scenes” from the film, which would influence young minds.

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