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How directors made their actors comfortable for intimate scenes

With Ekta Kapoor roping in a female DoP for her upcoming erotica 'XXX', we take a look at some filmmakers who went out of their way to make actors comfortable while shooting intimate scenes

No Matter how sexy it looks on screen, shooting an intimate scene can get awkward at times, mostly for the actors. There are cameras and lights focussed on them, and then there are a whole lot of crew members that come with it. The director sits at a short distance, judging every caress and moan.

Ekta Kapoor
Ekta Kapoor. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Though all steamy scenes may not be amorous, filmmakers do make special arrangements for their actors to feel comfortable. Recently, producer Ekta Kapoor hired a female director of photography (DoP) for her upcoming erotic film 'XXX' so that the intimate scenes can be shot with minimum discomfort. The film's director Ken Ghosh insists that Keiko, the DoP, was hired because of her experience and expertise, adding: "But, yes, I believe that if taking care of these things help the actor get comfortable and give a better performance then why not?"

hitlist takes a look at other filmmakers who helped the actors take under-the-sheets sequences easy...

Painting it pink
Anurag Kashyap had an all-women crew while recently shooting for a short film for the international market. In the 20-minute project, there was a scene which required lead actress Radhika Apte to lift her dress and expose her private part. Understanding her anxiety to do a frontal nudity scene in front of a regular crew, the filmmaker hired women technicians.

Anurag Kashyap (right) hired an all-women crew to shoot a frontal nudity scene with Radhika Apte (left) for a short film
Anurag Kashyap (right) hired an all-women crew to shoot a frontal nudity scene with Radhika Apte (left) for a short film

In an interview, Anurag had been quoted as saying, "It was an all-women shooting crew as we knew that we were making something as sensitive as this. And there were girls at every stage of the post-production."

Unfortunately, the footage of this scene was leaked and Anurag has sought the police's help to nab the culprit.

Soha Ali Khan (above) was uncomfortable shooting a ‘molestation’ scene in Chaarfutiya Chhokare, but the makers made her comfortable by asking the photographers to leave the sets
Soha Ali Khan (above) was uncomfortable shooting a 'molestation' scene in 'Chaarfutiya Chhokare', but the makers made her comfortable by asking the photographers to leave the sets

Minimum men
When Soha Ali Khan had to shoot a scene for Chaarfutiya Chokhare where she was to be molested, the brief was that she would be manhandled by a group of men, who will end up ripping her shirt apart. The actress expressed her apprehensions to the makers and accordingly, producer Vibha Dutta Khosla asked the photographers to leave the set and the scene was filmed behind closed doors.

Sunny Leone shot for an erotic sequence in Ragini MMS 2 with 90 per cent of the crew driven out of the set
Sunny Leone shot for an erotic sequence in 'Ragini MMS 2' with 90 per cent of the crew driven out of the set

Even director Nila Madhab Panda, while shooting for Babloo Happy Hai, had asked his crew to clear out from the room for an erotic sequence between the lead couple Sahil Anand and Erica Fernandes. The actress, who had to go topless, was initially uncomfortable. However, it was carried out with minimum crew presence.

Do not disturb
Many crew members of 'Ragini MMS 2' were ordered by producer Bhushan Patel to step out of the room where Sunny Loene was to deliver an erotic sequence and make it easier for her. During the filming of the scene, they could only hear the oohs and aahs of the former porn star. Rumour had it that they were all unhappy on losing out on the opportunity to see Sunny's performance. It was highly promoted by the production team, who called it the 'O' sequence.

Deepa Mehta (inset) had asked the crew of Midnight’s Children to leave the set while filming an intimate scene involving Shahana Goswami and Canadian actor Zaib Shaikh on the very first day of shoot
Deepa Mehta (left) had asked the crew of 'Midnight's Children' to leave the set while filming an intimate scene involving Shahana Goswami and Canadian actor Zaib Shaikh on the very first day of shoot

Similarly, Deepa Mehta had asked the crew of 'Midnight's Children', an adaptation of Salman Rushdie's book of the same name, to leave the set while filming an intimate scene involving Shahana Goswami. Only key members of the unit were allowed to stay in the room. The reason was that Shahana had just met her Canadian co-star Zaib Shaikh and was thrown off guard when she was told that they have to start off with an elaborate lovemaking scene. Sensing the actress' unease, Mehta lost no time in asking her crew to allow her privacy.

Ayan Mukherji (above) had instructed most of the male crew of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani to leave the room where Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor (right) had to shoot an intimate scene
Ayan Mukherji (right) had instructed most of the male crew of 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' to leave the room where Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor (left) had to shoot an intimate scene

Handling ex files
Ayan Mukherji's 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' had a few intimate scenes between ex-lovers Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone. The actress, however, apparently had some reservations getting intimate in front of people. So did Ranbir. Ayan then instructed most of the male crew to leave the room for Dippy to shoot without any inhibitions.

Bare truths

Director Mohit Suri says, “I am known to pamper my actors. For me, the best thing while shooting is not a good looking shot or a great dance move, it’s the performance. So, I would do anything to make the actors feel comfortable. Love-making scenes are most difficult to enact as the actors’ positions are quite awkward.

Mohit Suri
Mohit Suri

The last thing you would want them to feel is that they are being watched awkwardly, so most of the times, such scenes are shot with minimum people around. The scenes look good on camera, but while filming, it’s not that great a visual.”

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