"Girls can do whatever boys can. The vice-versa is also true," wink Kiran Janjani and Vikas Sethi, protagonists of Deepak Tijori's maiden directorial venture Oops!
The story of two friends who take to stripping are not the least embarrassed.
Kiran is from Mumbai; Vikas from Chandigarh.
Says Vikas, "I am not going to say the cliched: 'I never wanted to become an actor. It just happened.' I have been a model for two years. Some brands I worked on are Raymonds, Aquafina and Colgate. All those models who claim they are not tempted by films are lying."
Adds Kiran, "I started my career as a flight purser in Jet Airways. People kept telling me I should try my hand at modelling. I am a fairly good-looking guy. So I did and good work poured in. Later, I resigned from Jet and continued modelling. I did the Coca-Cola Aati kya Khandala? ad with [veejay and model] Maria Goretti. I have also done Godrej Storewell, Godrej Pentacool, Reliance, Eureka Forbes, Actizen Tablets and LIC.
"Deepak, Vikas and I have been friends long before this project. We work out at the same gym," says Kiran, adding, "I was signed on much before Vikas. Deepak wanted someone classy for Vikas's character and was biding his time. When I reminded him of Vikas, he agreed."
How did they manage the stripping scene? Says Kiran, "Oh God! Don't ask us about that scene. When Deepak
narrated it to us, we had said 'Big deal!' When the moment actually came, we almost backed out. It is a 10-minute long scene.
"Deepak shocked us that day. He had told us we were supposed to shoot the first portion of the scene which needed us to be nude above the waist. Around noon he ordered that the whole striptease scene be shot that very day," says Kiran.
Continues Vikas, "The scene is something like this: we are in our underpants -- this designer zebra-printed affair. About 20 young girls cheer lustily as we strut about. [Actress] Mink is their leader and a film star who asks us to do this striptease for her."
Kiran elaborates on their roles, "We are just friends. I am the greedy, ambitious type who has no feelings for anybody. I want to get rich quick anyhow. Vikas is the soft type who would do anything for a friend. Circumstances force me to become a striptease artiste. I tell Vikas too to do it. He agrees saying he will do so only once. After that, he backs out. We have an argument because I want him to continue. The argument turns into a fight."
Vikas chips in, "Actually, he has a girlfriend who comes to know of his stripteasing and starts leaning on my shoulder. We fall in love. Meanwhile, he gets into offering sexual gratification to elderly women. There is a song Na jaane kya ho raha hai where we both are in bed. He is having a good time with an older woman (played by Mita Vashisht) and I am having a good time with his girlfriend."
Asked if they were comfortable during the lovemaking scenes, Vikas grins sheepishly and does not answer. Kiran says, "I had to kiss Mita Vashist and felt embarrassed. But she said, 'Kiran, just go ahead.'"
Are the two apprehensive that their debut film might come in for heavy chopping at the Censors? "No," says Kiran. "Kissing scenes are allowed these days. The striptease scene is not the Full Monty."
Asked whether Indian audiences would accept such a subject, Kiran feels, "Deepak, Vikas and I believe that if people can accept Jism and The Guru, they will accept this film as well. Male strippers and gigolos do exist around you and me."
Both Vikas and Kiran have been offered films but are waiting for the release of Oops! "Producers want to sign us but they are offering a low price. After Oops! releases, things will certainly be upmarket [for us]. Deepak is leaving for Los Angeles with Ashutosh Gowariker and Kaizad Gustad [for the American Film Market]. They will sell the film abroad."
Shot over 44 days on a Rs 25 million budget, Oops! is slated to release April 25.