'The smooch in Dostana was fake'
Are you ready for India's Brokeback Mountain?
Yes, Dunno Y... Na Jaane Kyun, a film on a gay couple is all set to release on Friday.
While the film which is predominantly in English was well received at various film festivals abroad, in India the picture is not so rosy with the censor board cutting many bold scenes.
Sanjay Sharma's directorial venture stars an ensemble cast led by Zeenat Aman and Helen. The rest of the cast includes his brother Kapil Sharma, Yuvraaj Parashar, Rituparna Sengupta, Kabir Bedi, Maradona, Arjun Vaid, Tara Sharma, Asha Sachdev, Hazel, Mahabanoo Kotwal and Parikshat Sahni.
Lata Mangeshkar has even lent her legendary voice to the title track of the film which will be picturised on Zeenat Aman.
Ufaque Paiker caught up with one of the lead actors, Kapil Sharma, who plays a closet gay from an Anglo Indian family, for more dope. Excerpts:
What is your role in the movie?
I play a wannabe gay model who wants to make it big in the industry. In order to achieve his dreams, he tries his hand at different things. He is looking for someone to launch him. He even becomes a gigolo for a while.
Image: A poster of Dunno Y... Na Jaane Kyun
'My friends told me that I have lost it and that this could be my first and last film'
How did you prepare for the role?
I researched the lives of gays on the Internet. I went to parties and interacted with them. I even observed their mannerisms.
How did your family react to your role?
Initially, I did not tell them. Later when they saw the movie, they were not difficult. They understood that it is just a role.
What about your friends?
When they came to know about it, they told me that I have lost it and that this could be my first and last film. But later when they saw my film, they realised the seriousness of the subject and appreciated the sensitivity in portraying the character.
Image: Kapil Sharma
'We have come up with a real man-to-man kiss and lovemaking scenes'
People are saying that it is an Indian version of Brokeback Mountain...
No, the stories are pretty different. But we can say that it is the first time that Indian cinema has come up with such a bold movie. It is the first movie which has shown a kiss between two guys. The smooch in Dostana doesn't count because that was fake. We have come up with a real man-to-man kiss and love making scenes.
You have a scene with Aryan Vaid where you are there with him semi-naked in a bathtub. How comfortable were you doing such an intimate scene with a guy?
Honestly, it was a quite weird. We were both apprehensive about it. But when you are in the tub for eight long hours, all inhibitions faded away.
Eight hours! What were you doing there for so long?
It was a long scene where we were talking to each other.
Is it true that Aryan's wife saw the scene while it was being shot?
The shoot was to be completed before she was to arrive on the sets. Aryan did not inform her about the scene. Due to a delay in the shoot, she got to see the scene. But she was cool with it. In fact, she started laughing after seeing us together.
Image: A scene from Dunno Y...Na Jaane Kyun
'The story would have been incomplete without the lovemaking scenes'
The censor board has edited 40 percent of your film. What is left to watch?
Actually, the censor board had planned to chop off the entire lovemaking scene. But later after a three-month long battle, they reduced the length of the scenes.
Do you think the Indian audience is ready to watch such a bold movie?
Yes, we are mature and smart, so why not? I know that it won't be appealing to all but definitely it would be liked by mature people.
Why the need to show such explicit scenes? Is this just a publicity stunt?
No, the story would have been incomplete without them. When we watch any mainstream heterosexual love in the movie, you cannot afford to show it without the intimate scenes. Likewise if we wouldn't have shown this, then it would amount to cheating on our part.
What was your girlfriends' reaction to the movie?
Initially they were giggling but later when the story developed, they really liked the movie.
What about the gay community?
I have been getting mails and letters thanking me for doing the movie. They liked the movie because of the seriousness and the sensitivity with which we have dealt with the subject.
A few days ago, some people protested against the movie outside your house...
They have not even seen the movie. If they had and then protested, it would have made more sense.
Image: Kapil Sharma and Hazel
'I have even been called to California to give a lecture on this issue'
How do you think the public will react to the movie?
I know that it will upset some sections but it won't stop the others from enjoying it.
We heard that the movie is doing well abroad...
It won the viewers choice awards at the Sydney Film Festival as well as an award at the Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival. It was also appreciated by the London Film Festival.
After watching the film, the director of the German Film Festival decided to screen this movie in six cities in Germany. I have even been called to California to give a lecture on this issue.
What about your co-star Yuvraj who was apparently thrown out of his house?
Well, he had some differences with his father. They are not talking but things are not that bad. It has been overhyped by some journalists. We have spoken to his family and they have agreed to watch the film.
Image: Kapil Sharma, Zeenat Aman and Rituparna Sengupta