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'Doing lovemaking scenes was NOT difficult'

Last updated on: July 1, 2013 09:17 IST

'Doing lovemaking scenes was NOT difficult'

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Patcy N in Mumbai
Chak De! India girl Shilpa Shukla has not had too many releases after the acclaimed 2007 Shah Rukh Khan-starrer.

She will now be seen in a leading role in BA Pass, which is expected to release in August.

The trailer is sprinkled with a liberal dose of sex and erotic scenes, as the film tells the story of a young boy who comes to Delhi to study and is seduced by Shilpa's housewife character.
 
Shilpa Shukla talks to Patcy N about the film, and why she didn't mind taking off her clothes for it. 
 
Tell us about BA Pass.
 
The story is taken from a short story The Railway Aunty by Mohan Sikka. I see it as a film about hope in the dark times that we live in. Even though it is a dark story, it is a true reflection of what's happening around us.
 
There are rumours that your character, Sarika, is based on the adult comic book Savita Bhabhi. 
 
Not exactly. I don't know if she was the germ of it in the beginning. I guess Ajay was thinking more on the lines of Manohar Kahaniyan (a Hindi monthly magazine popular among its readers, for its bold stories). There has to be some trace of Savita Bhabhi also. 

But by the time we played Sarika on the screen she was more genuine and logical. She is a woman in pain, but she is also a manipulator.

Image: Shilpa Shukla and Shadab Kamal in BA Pass


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'I have no fears about how B.A. Pass will be perceived'

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Why did you decide to do the film?
 
The timing was right. After shooting for many films, I was looking for a transformation, a new character and a new role for me. When I read the story of BA Pass, it was nail biting.
 
The script came to me through my acting teacher Edwin William. After reading it, I knew it would give me some sort of liberation as an artist.
 
The story was good and my role is something we have not seen in a long time.

Were you not apprehensive that the film could be sleazy if not handled right?
 
Absolutely, but we hit the right note. When your gut says you should go for it, you should do it and everything falls in place. 

It's pure magic to read that short story and watch its cinematic representation. At the end of the day, I am happy.
 
Going by the trailer, audiences may think it is a C grade movie...
 
I don't think that will happen. I can vouch for that.
 
In fact, one day I was eating pani puri with my friend Chitrashi Rawat, my co-actor from Chak De! India, and this group of girls and boys were talking about us and Chak De!. Suddenly another girl said a dialogue from BA Pass. I asked them about it and they told me they had seen the promo and were waiting for the movie.
 
My friend from Muscat called to tell me her friends loved the trailer. Plus, I have good reports on Facebook.
 
Maybe some people will watch the movie for the bold scenes, but they will have to sit through the whole film and the beauty is that after watching the film they will be transformed. That is why I have no fears about how the film will be perceived.

Image: Shilpa Shukla and Shadab Kamal in BA Pass


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'I was made to feel comfortable on the sets'

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What preparation have you done for the film?
 
We did a week's workshop with (actor) Dibyendu Bhattacharya, who plays a significant role in the film. 
 
We did not do any research -- all the performances are instinctive. Even a day before the shoot I had not decided how Sarika was going to talk or walk. On the first day of the shoot, I realised how I will do it and once I got into the skin of the character she never got out of me, she was always in my head.
 
Ajay was very sure how he wanted the character to be portrayed. I am a director's actor and what he wanted from me, I did.

Your role in the film is very sensuous and there are so many lovemaking scenes in the film. Were they difficult to do?
 
It was not at all difficult because it is all a state of mind.
 
I come from a stage background and have been exposed to a lot of national and international theatre and world cinema and that allowed me to think differently. 

I was made to feel comfortable on the sets. We were, of course, shooting in a closed set but the entire crew was supporting and understanding.

Image: Shilpa Shukla and Shadab Kamal in BA Pass


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'My mother saw the film. She is proud of me'

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You have stripped down to undergarments in the lovemaking scenes...
 
We were very sure that we wanted to release the film in India. We wanted the masses and classes to come and see it. Frontal nudity is always a question, and we were thinking whether we should go all out or not and we decided to use undergarments.
 
Is it true that you took your mother's permission before signing the film and asked her whether she would disown you after the film?
 
Yes, I did ask her that but that was my sense of humour. After reading the script, I went to the kitchen and told my mother and she started laughing and said you know better. I discussed it with my father too. It was important for them to know and understand what I was doing. 
 
Right from the time of Khamosh Pani, my parents have allowed me to do what I wanted. Otherwise, who would allow their child post 9/11 to go to Pakistan to shoot a film in the middle of her studies? They have been the best parents. They are always giving the right guidelines.
 
My father was concerned about me. I lost him last year so of course he has not seen the film. But when I was shooting for the film we would interact about my work and in his own way he would give me advice from the Bhagvad Gita. He knew as an artist it was suffocation for me if I don't let go.
 
My mother saw the film at Osian (Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema) and she saw it with 1,800 people. The film got the best film award there and Shadab Kamal got the best actor award. My mother was proud of me and the reaction to the film.

Image: Shilpa Shukla and Shadab Kamal in BA Pass


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'My husband is the associate director on BA Pass'

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What was your husband's reaction to the intimate scenes in the film?
 
Mohit is the associate director of the film. And there was no reaction; we believe in good work. We are childhood buddies and both have our dreams. He wants to be a filmmaker and I want to be an actor.
 
What did you feel about the character? Was she right or wrong?
 
For me, she has to be right. 

You have to be convinced about your character. You have to make her likeable, believeable, desirable and lovable.

That's what I did when I played Bindiya (in Chak De! India). For Sarika, I never thought she is not a nice woman though she is definitely on the dark side.
 
After Chak De!, your career didn't really take off as it should have, though you had releases such as Frozen, Bhindi Bazar Inc. Why was that?
 
I don't know what happened. Some of the films that I signed did not materialise, some got stalled due to recession. It was a bad time so I really don't want to talk about it.

But now that jinx is over. I believe in karma so maybe I have done something right.
 
Immediately after Chak De!, I was doing a film with Abhay Deol called Junction. It stalled twice just two days before the shooting was to start. Then I went to Cape Town for a film, but that too was stalled.
 
I would say I was lucky I did Chak De!.

Image: Shilpa Shukla and Shadab Kamal in BA Pass


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'I was lucky that I got Chak De! India'

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Was that a depressing period? How did you deal with it?
 
It was depressing. You don't know what is happening with you and suddenly there is a ray of hope and that also vanishes. But this happens. You have to remain sane. You have to just find yourself.

People may think that because you did not get any roles after Chak De! you are doing a sleazy film.
 
Nobody thinks that. Directors such as Vishal Bhardwaj, Mahesh Bhatt and Buddhadev Dasgupta have sent me SMSes after watching the film to say how much they liked the film. 

As an artist, you should explore. 
 
How difficult is to get a film without a filmi background?
 
I was in Delhi when Khamoshi Pani happened. Many girls auditioned for it. I went on my cycle with zero expectations and I was shortlisted. 

There was no film culture in our house. My father was in the income tax department. I would say I was lucky that I got Chak De! and now BA Pass.

Image: Shilpa Shukla in Chak De! India


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'I don't believe in skin show'

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You also don't have conventional good looks...

You are right. The star system operates big time. Realistic portrayals like what Daniel Day Lewis and Hillary Swank do are not popular here. 

I know I have a connection with the audience but we have people in the industry who see you in a certain way and think you will not get them enough money. And money dominates Bollywood. 

But times are changing. I too look good after putting on make-up. I just got my portfolio done and I look okay (laughs).
 
You have to maintain a star life?
 
Yes, of course. I know there will be a time when I will be earning so much that I won't be able to count it!
 
I don't spend much. I just have basic needs. I may have to spend on clothes but not on a car and house.
 
After Chak De!, I was doing lots of events and getting paid too but I was not happy. 
 
You need to give to be happy. I want to do things for others. I am going to give money for education. I have been working on a school project in my village in Bihar for a year now.
 
Do you think exposing your body is the way to get a role and money in Bollywood?
 
No, I don't think so. I don't believe in skin show. People should go deeper than this.

Image: Shilpa Shukla in BA Pass


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