Thanks to the Censor Board, tabla maestro Zakir Hussain won’t feature in Bejoy Nambiar’s Shaitan. In a supposedly controversial scene, VJ-actor Neil Bhoopalam uses the Padma Bhushan awardee’s name to distract his mother when she walks in on him in a compromising position.
“The scene hasn’t been removed,” says Bejoy. “Instead, we’ve increased the volume of the accompanying music to cover up the words, ‘Zakir Hussain’. We never intended to hurt or malign anyone.”The sequence in question has Neil masturbating, when his mother suddenly enters the room. To cover up, he pretends to be searching for a music CD. Before he can control himself, he climaxes and screams, "Mil gaya Zakir Hussain..." The scene hadn’t gone down too well with the censors, who asked for it to be covered up.
Living up to its name, Shaitan also caused a stir thanks to a chase sequence, which featured posters of Shiv Sena leaders Balasaheb and Uddhav Thackeray. “We’ve removed Balasaheb’s poster from the sequence and have also blurred out the one showing Uddhav’s face in the background,” assures Bejoy.
Ask him if he is unhappy with the film’s ‘A’ certificate a nd he shoots back: “Not at all. The Censor Board has been wonderful to me. I could easily have been the target of more backlash but they have been very understanding.”
Still, the debutant director wanted an U/A certificate. “Of course, I had asked for U/A but they gave me valid reasons why it was strictly an adult film,” says Bejoy, adding that producer Anurag Kashyap wasn’t surprised either.
Shaitan, starring Kalki Koechlin, Rajeev Khandelwal and Shiv Pandit among others, releases on June 10. “I am excited because I am confident that my movie has turned out to be impressive. Now, I am eager to see the response of the audiences. I have my fingers crossed,” smiles Bejoy.