Keeping the #MeToo movement in mind, Bollywood takes its first step to ensure safety of female cast in the film ‘Season’s Greetings’ (With Nation Next as the media partner) Director Ram Kamal Mukherjee of ‘Cakewalk’ fame, along with producer Aritra Das jointly decided to appoint an ‘intimacy supervisor,’ like Hollywood, for the shoot of their next venture ‘A Tribute to Rituparno – Seasons Greetings.’ Bollywood actress Celina Jaitly who is making her come back in Ram Kamal’s second directorial venture, suggested this idea. Incidentally the film has an intimate scene, which needs to be picturised on lead actor Azhar Khan and Celina Jaitly.
They are paired opposite each other in the film as romantic lead. The film deals with mother and daughter relationship, while Celina plays the role of daughter, veteran actor Lillette Dubey plays the role of her mother.
“The scene was beautifully conceived by Ram Kamal, and he has also shared the story board along with his cinematographer Pravatendu Mondol on how they were planning to shoot the scene,” said Celina who is extremely particular about doing any intimate scenes on screen.
“A journalist from a leading daily had called me up for my opinion on Hollywood trying to get an ‘intimacy supervisor’ on board for scenes that might be uncomfortable for male or female actors to perform. I discussed this with my producer Aritra Das and Shailendra Kumar and they both agreed. Post that, I had a detailed conversation with my director Ram Kamal and even he agreed to implement this to set a benchmark. I think this shows how Bollywood is slowly and steadily welcoming the change,” added Celina, who was a bit apprehensive in shooting the scene post marriage and motherhood.
Without divulging any further details on the intimate scene, director Ram Kamal Mukherjee said, “I read about this article, which was published in a leading daily few weeks ago. Celina called me and discussed at length about how can we get something similar done in our film set. Thereafter I had few rounds of meeting with my producers and we decided to have someone senior (female) as an ‘intimacy supervisor on board for scenes that we will shoot with Celina and Azhar.”
The scene was shot in a lavish pent house in Kolkata, and it would be a crucial part of the film, thus establishing their intimacy and issues in their relationship. “We are showing them as live-in partners. And what do young couples do when they are in a live-in relationship? I don’t want to show sunflowers and honey bees implicating sex between two adults. I’d rather make films for kids, if I have to be that restricted as a creative person,” joked Ram Kamal.
Not just Celina, even Azhar is happy with this new development. “I have been reading about various stories. #MeToo as a movement is great. But people are misusing it too. There are barely any legal routes, through which one can prove himself/herself innocent. If we have an ‘intimacy supervisor’ on board, then she will be neutral and will safeguard the interest of the male and female actors,” said debutante Azhar Khan.
During the shoot, they had all women crewmembers; barring the cinematographer, no one was allowed inside the bedroom. “After explaining the scene, I was instructing them from the monitor, while Celina had all female crew helping her in executing the love making scene,” informed Ram Kamal.
“It was very important for me as an actor to be comfortable with my co-actor in an intimate scene, which is crucial for the film. I am thankful to Lillette Dubeyji for the workshop she conducted with my director Ram Kamal a day before the shoot. That eased out the initial awkwardness. But I would give entire credit to Ram Kamal for allowing me to almost direct the love making scene because he wanted me to be physically in-charge, to get the best emotion out,” said Celina.
Incidentally director Ram Kamal spoke to Celina’s husband Peter Haag and narrated the story and importance of intimacy to the leading characters. Peter wanted Celina to be absolutely comfortable.
The film revolves around Section 377 and also deals with #MeToo movement, which makes this as India’s first film on these issue post abolishment of Section 377. The film has music by Shailendra Sayanti and the songs are by Jaan Kumar Sanu and Sayani Palit. Produced under the banner of Assorted Motion Pictures and SS1 Entertainments the film is a tribute to legendary filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh.