For the first time ever, a Bollywood film scene showing two men locked in a steamy kiss has been passed by the censors. In the film, Pankh, 20-year-old debutant actor Maradona Rebello smooches Amit Purohit in a drunken state.
The censor board, which has always had reservations about homo-erotica in any form, has not only passed the scene, but has made politically correct noises about it, too. Vinayak Azad, regional censor board officer, has reportedly said that the board cannot object to the kissing scene because it is not unnatural sex, and besides, board members do not want to be seen as people who oppose homosexuality.
Directed by Sudipto Chattopadhyay, Pankh is the story of a child actor whose mother dresses him up as a girl for his film roles. Years after becoming an adult, the boy is still confused about his sexuality, because his mother makes it difficult for him to think clearly. Muddled and disoriented, he finds himself kissing a man one drunken night.
Played out by debutant actors Maradona and Amit, the scene is an integral part of the script. “Oh! It is definitely a kiss,” says Maradona, “but in a drunken state, as the script demanded. And I’m okay with it. Once the movie is done, I’m over with it.”
Not this one
However, the censors have been less liberal about another, far bolder scene, where Maradona stands in front of Lilette Dubey (who plays his mother) and yanks his towel off, to assert that he is, after all, a man. This scene has not been cleared yet, and the director says that without it, the film cannot end. “If that scene is done away with, the script will lose its effect,” Chattopadhyay says. “It has got no sexual feeling, and the story cannot end without it, as simple as that.”
Maradona is proud of the work he has done in the film and calls Lilette Dubey “a great support throughout the movie”.
Azad has been quoted as saying, “In the scene, a male actor is completely nude in front of his mother and his rear is exposed to the audience. That is the reason we have asked them to either change or modify the sequence.”
The film is likely to be released with an ‘A’ certificate.