While the fate of the kissing scene between Rahul Bose and Arjun Mathur in Onir’s film Omar hangs in balance, Bengali filmmaker Sudipto Chattopadhyaya’s gay kiss in Pankh featuring Maradona Rebello and Amit Purohit has been passed by the censors, untouched.
This would be the first time Hindi audiences will see two men kissing on screen. Madhur Bhandarkar had earlier deleted a male kiss featuring Samir Soni before submitting his film Fashion to the censors.
Not only that, a sequence where Maradona Rebello goes fully naked before his screen-mother Lilette Dubey has also been passed by the lately-liberalized censor board, albeit with the 19-year old actor’s butt blurred.
The director Sudipto Chattopadhyaya has no quibble with Vinayak Azad Regional Officer of the censor board.
Says Sudipto emphatically, “In fact, Vinayak Azad has been very supportive. It’s individual members of the jury who raised questions about the language and content. Some words from the dialogues had to be beeped out. One lady in Burqa behaved as though the moral health of the nation would be destroyed by the deeds of my characters. Such hypocrisy has to stop.”
Director Sudipto Chattopadhyaya is extremely miffed at the lurid bent given to Pankh. “The so-called male kissing sequence is actually a molestation scene. The young shocked disgusted hero Maradona is force-kissed by a drunken friend who assumes Maradona is gay. The sequence is not titillating or erotic but filled with Maradona’s revulsion. But because the kiss came to light after Article 377 was repealed it was conveniently misconstrued.”
The nude sequence will qualify as the boldest ever in an Indian film
. It comes at a time when the boy-hero must prove to his domineering mother that he is, after all, a man.
Says the director, “I’ve never spoken about this sequence before because the content is bound to be projected out of context. It’s actually the climactic moment when the hero Jerry (Maradona Rebello) can no longer bear with his mother’s taunts about his manhood. Jerry takes off his trousers to show his mother that he has a d…k like any man. It’s shocking moment. We shot Maradona from the back. But he was fully nude in front of Lilette Dubey.”
The censorial boldness notwithstanding one wonders how Indian audiences would react to a film that subverts the traditional mother-child relationship and takes it kicking and screaming into the zone of sexual politics.