Bored of the idiot box, TV tzarina Ekta Kapoor is fearlessly entering the bedroom space with films like Love Sex Aur Dhokha, Ragini MMS and Dirty Picture. But she says titillating the audience is not her agenda as Indians don't have to go to movie theatres to watch sex.
"There is lovemaking, but there is no sex in our films," a nonchalant Ekta told IANS in an interview.
"I personally believe in our country, if you want to see sex, you can go online and download it for free. Why would somebody pay Rs 50 or Rs 100-200 for a movie ticket just to watch sex?"
Referring to her movies, she said: "There is no sex in these films. But in none of these films do we run away from sex. They have just been labelled titillating. When I made TV shows, people called them regressive. Clearly, everyone wants to generalise everything.
In 2010, Ekta launched ALT Entertainment, a sister concern of her Balaji Telefilms Ltd, to cater to upwardly mobile young Indians with television and film content.
She released Dibaker Banerjee's bold and explicit project Love Sex Aur Dhokha under the banner, and realised there is a definite market for subjects and treatment that are closer to reality.
So now comes Ragini MMS, about a couple who go for an adventurous weekend and get filmed by 24 cameras amid some paranormal activity, and Dirty Picture, which traces the life of sex icon Silk Smitha.
"I choose a mid path. I can easily tell you that none of these films is high on sexuality. In fact a lot of our Hindi films where they show dupattas flying and deep cleavage, have a lot more sexuality. The difference is that they show it in a covert, more hidden way. But actually it is much more titillating," said the daughter of Bollywood's Jumping Jack, the veteran star Jeetendra.
Caught in an unusually fun-loving mood at a hotel here, Ekta broke into guffaws the moment the stark contrast between her family-oriented dramas and the films was pointed out. She is after all known for soaps like Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki.
"I am a living contradiction. I am chalk and cheese. Expect the unexpected from me! I can easily manage the two sides because I am a Gemini - a woman of all moods - I am Bohemian and conservative," she said.
But 35-year-old Ekta, who kept fiddling with the many threads and bracelets worn on her left wrist for superstitious reasons, finally gave the reason behind the films.
"I was getting extremely tired with television. I love my television but I was getting bored doing the same thing over and over again. And I didn't want to go niche on television. Niche on TV is not allowed because audience for TV is so large."
"I can't monitor and I can't give advice as to who should be watching what on TV. So I didn't want to get experimental. I would never show something on TV which I am not comfortable watching with my parents or grandparents."
"I could have never had any kind of creative freedom on TV; so then I did movies! Now, I am able to do all kinds of entertainment...and that, I feel, is the biggest blessing!" she added.
And not once to mince words, Ekta readily admits that Ragini MMS is definitely not the kind of movie she would watch with her parents.
It is "strictly for youngsters!" she exclaimed.