Charuulata 2011: Between the sheets

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By Kushali Nag Do you think Tollywood is finally coming of age when it comes to showing sex on screen?Tell
  • Published 8.03.12

Agnidev: The bold scenes in my film were absolutely necessary to establish the relationships in Chaity’s life. The film is about a lonely housewife (Rituparna Sengupta) whose husband (Arjun Chakraborty) is always occupied with work and she meets a guy (Dibyendu) who is not only good looking but is also adventurous in every way! When I narrated the script to my actors, Dibyendu and Ritu were more or less comfortable but Arjun started to perspire! He objected to the masturbation scene. Though we still had the scene in the film we’ve just touched upon it. I wanted a liplock scene between Dibyendu and Ritu, but Ritu wasn’t comfortable. But she was comfortable with the masturbation scene.

See, my film isn’t vulgar. Whatever scenes — even the boldest one where Dibyendu just before making love takes off Rituparna’s panty from under her skirt — is shown in low light. We were not making a porn film. The scenes must give the audience a sense of pleasure and they must enjoy them! Then of course the censor board was looming large on my mind while shooting the scenes. In Dibyendu and Ritu’s lovemaking scene on a windowsill, I could have been far more daring but I knew the censor board would object so we left a lot to the imagination.

Can you believe the censor board objected to a scene where Ritu was checking whether she was pregnant on a medical kit with her panty around her ankles! This is pure hypocrisy.

Rituparna: As an actress I have very few reservations. Yes, I objected to a liplock between me and Dibyendu and that pushed Agni to think of a new way of exploring sex on screen. He came up with the idea of Dibyendu pulling down my panty after lifting the skirt above the knee. I thought that was a very different language of cinema which I am not sure if anybody has shown in any film.... The masturbation scene, I felt, was absolutely necessary to explain the sexual void in Chaity’s life. She is married to a man who is 11 years older to her and therefore there’s a strong sexual need in her which goes unnoticed by her husband.... But Charuulata 2011 is about much more than just the sex bit. It’s got a beautiful story and it’s about adult relationships. You cannot tell the tale of a lonely housewife who falls for another man without showing the sexual bit. The intimate scenes were aesthetically handled.

Arjun: I had objections to the masturbation scene because I have never done such a bold scene before. But after watching the film I was okay because Agni (Agnidev) showed it very aesthetically. There was much more than what’s retained in the film. That apart, the making out scene with Ritu in the end was more of a reconciliation between the husband and wife and it was hardly a two-and-half-second scene. Yes, I was a little uncomfortable, but having Ritu as a co-star was great because we are family friends and there were no problems. Besides, the scenes were sensual and not meant to titillate. If it was meant for titillation I wouldn’t have done it.

Shirsha: My reference point while capturing intimate moments is always Hemendra Majumdar’s paintings. I like using natural lights or very little light, so that it looks sensual and the image looks beautiful rather than vulgar. Plus, it’s very important for a DoP to be comfortable with the actors. I was very comfortable with the Charuulata 2011 team and so capturing the bold scenes was very easy.

Dibyendu: In the beginning it was difficult because Rituparna is such a big star. I didn’t know her personally so I was a bit stiff initially but she made me comfortable and I realised that we are two professionals and just doing our jobs. Plus, while getting intimate on screen I am more bothered about the technical aspects. Like in the scene when I am taking off her panty, I was bothered whether the right side of my face was taking proper light and the shot would be okayed at one go. I hate NG (not good) shots during intimate scenes.

I was very jittery in the scene where just after making out I am sitting in bed in just my underwear! I have no inhibitions doing a nude scene too but I need to tone up a little more and of course the scene should go with the flow of the film.