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Interview : Shilpa Shukla

'Sex is very important in a relationship'

Shilpa Shukla played the arrogant hockey player in CHAK DE INDIA with elan and now she's is all set for yet another challenging character of Sarika in B.A. PASS. She will be seen in a physical relationship with a young boy. In this no holds barred chat, she speaks about women's libido, the importance of sex in a relationship and a lot more. Read on...

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What drew you into this film?
It was essentially the story. I read the story on my phone which is very rare. I could not stop reading it till the climax came and till it ended. The story was extremely nail-biting. It had a flavor which I had not tasted in any of the scripts I had read.

Is the film inspired by THE READER?
No. It has no similarity to THE READER. Both the films are about the relationship between an elderly woman and a young boy but that's about it. I must say that THE READER is one of the best films I've seen and howled.

'There was no awkwardness about lovemaking scenes'

The film is based on Mohan Sikka's short story 'The Railway Aunty' short story. Did you read it?
I read the script first and later I read the short story. From the short story, the script is one beautiful level and from the script to the film is another level. So it's an add on in every stage.

Were you apprehensive to do the film considering it had a lot of lovemaking scenes?
It was a very objective read when I read it for the first time. I was not thinking whether I would do the film or not. I was just driven towards the story. Luckily I was in Delhi when I read the script and I had my parents right there. They are the first people I anyway needed to seek permission from. They gave me a go ahead. As an artist, internally I was quite convinced. I knew that the script gave me the chance to take that risk and if I do it well, then it will be quite a fulfilling experience. I am exposed to World Cinema and I've done theatre internationally where I've seen nudity. So my perception of sex is very different. So if you ask me as an artist who is a global citizen, I would say that I wasn't apprehensive.

Did you feel awkward while shooting the lovemaking scenes? Did you ask people to leave the set?
I didn't have to ask people to leave the sets. All these scenes are usually shot in a closed set. There are a minimum number of people. Everyone was very supportive. There was no awkwardness about it.

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Do you feel that the Indian film industry still shies away when it comes to sex?
If the intention is corrupt, then don't expect it to manifest in a beautiful evolving mature way. The camera which we see in a usual commercial film is to titillate. It is to titillate an audience which is not educated. But I was very convinced because I knew that I'm just going to be an instrument to tell a story. If it needs this (sex) because it's the spine of the film, so be it. But I had the confidence that I'll be able to convince them in the end.

How important do you think is sex in a relationship?
Sex is very important in a relationship. We are human beings and sex is a major part of humans. But everything in balance is good. People should not just go after it. In that process we cut down a lot of good things which could happen between two people.

'I am very proud of the films that I've done'

Do you feel sex is overrated?
Sex is extremely overrated. That's because we don't talk about it at the right time. I somehow can't imagine how we had the Kamasutra and how we had that temple in Khajuraho which were made from the point of view that only once you are done with all the images in life and you enter the temple is when you have entered the temple.

Women's libido is not generally talked about. Will it change with this film?
Yes, it should. I think we need to talk about it in the open. The more we try to suppress it, there will be more distortion to the truth.

Do you feel India is a very hypocritical country when it comes to sex?
I used to love saying such things in the past but now I prefer to avoid. I feel we are all a part of it. Who is India? India is me equally. But I have resolved myself. I am not hypocritical anymore. I wish we arrive at a more open outlook towards everything and not suppress things. I believe education in true sense of the word is missing. If we do that, everything can be taken of. Then I have a feeling, we won't even have rapes like these. We have to be open and make our kids understand at a very early age. I think kids are very intelligent. Instead of hushing it, we should find a way to communicate to them.

Are you happy with the way your career has progressed till now?
I am very happy and satisfied. I am very proud of the films that I've done. I know that KHAMOSH PANI and CHAK DE! INDIA will always be remembered. I am hoping the same for BA PASS. I'm also good with quantity. So I hope to do at least 2-3 good films in a year.

- By Pankaj Sabnani, Glamsham Editorial

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