She’s got the looks and hooks
As veteran actresses are increasingly looking towards the web for experimentation, bold and sexier roles are the flavour of the season.
Khujli, Scandal Point, Love, Life, Screw Ups — these may sound like chic flicks, but they feature some of the industry’s veteran women trying their hand at what a typical chick flick would indulge in. Zeenat Aman’s bold Joana in Love, Life... has no hang ups about dating younger men, while Neena Gupta’s character in Khujli is a middle aged woman, who’s keen on experimenting with BDSM in the bedroom, to spice up her sex life.
Sonam Nair, who directed Neena in Khujli, opposite Jackie Shroff explains that the movie was right up the actress’ alley. “Jackie had done a couple of short films before; he wants to help out people who want to experiment. But Neena had not done this before. She’s a modern woman, and she wasn’t happy with the kind of work coming to her. This movie was her zone in general.”
A still from Khujli
Neena on her part, found the script to be a refreshing change. “I loved the script so much, that I immediately had to say yes. These days we don’t get such scripts. It was great fun shooting with youngsters. I was not expecting them to be so detailed and organised with their work, but they were completely aware of what they were doing, and I would like to applaud them for it.”
Kapil Kaustubh Sharma, the director of Love, Life and Screw Ups, in which Zeenat purportedly romances a 25-year-old, says that one doesn’t necessarily find artistes who are willing to give this medium a shot. “All actors aren’t willing to explore, but there’s a crop of artistes who are game. As far as Zeenat goes, she’s been one of the pioneers in the top leading actresses of the yesteryears, who took on this challenge.”
What worries both Neena and Sonam, is people either experimenting way too much with the content, or the censors running their scissors all over the platform. “We’ve worked on it in a tongue-in-cheek way, and we’ve not shown anything,” Neena says, referring to the almost-cutesy take on the couple’s sex life and romance. “The Internet is a free medium, and such content can be easily put up, especially since there’s no censorship. My only fear is that people might take undue advantage of the medium, and we’d also have to censor it.”
Adds Sonam, “I’m very excited about the platform, and I hope the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) doesn’t come in and start censoring, because there are too many limitations while making a film. This is one platform on which we’re able to do things we want to do, without any interference.”
Kapil explains that content is still king in this case. “This is the only platform which will reach the audience if the content is good. No matter what the subject, or who is starring in it, it will reach out,” he asserts. “However, once you’re a star, the kind of films you get become more and more similar, and there’s a lot of limitations for an actress. There are only character roles available for these actors after a certain age in feature films. But this platform gives you much more space to dabble.”
Neena says that she enjoys the process so much, she’d want to do more such roles. “With the web it’s easier, because there was a point where a film would have to be shot for four years, and people had to wait for finances; it would just go on and on. With the web, the process is quick — we completed shooting in two days. For people like me, it becomes easier, because daily soaps on TV tend to get taxing, thanks to the schedule. With web, the results are immediate,” she concludes.
With inputs by Aarti Bhanushali