The kiss between Pakistani actress Meera and Ashmit Patel in the soon-to-be-released Nazar is not just creating a divide between India and Pakistan, but also between producer-husband Mahesh Bhatt and his first-time film director wife Soni Razdan.
|TOO HOT TO HANDLE: Meera with Ashmit Patel in Nazar|
After the kiss created a commotion in Pakistan and threatened to make things difficult for the Pakistani actress, Bhatt wants to remove the controversial kiss from the film. His wife, however, is up in arms.
After all, a film is a director's baby and Razdan is not convinced about deleting the lip lock from her directorial debut.
Meanwhile, post the stormy noises from across the border regarding the kissing and sensuous pictures of the actress, Meera has also requested her director to remove the kiss, which comes in the title song Nazar Nazar.
The actress admits, "I have requested Soni to remove it; ultimately it's her decision. Whatever she decides, I will abide by it."
A tad irritated, Meera adds, "It's a romantic song and if the script demands a kiss I will do it. Top Hindi film actresses have kissed in films; Aishwarya, Madhuri, and Karisma have done so. What's the big deal about me kissing in a film?"
Bhatt says, "The kiss is definitely part of the film. But today it has divided our house in two groups.
The kiss is not hot. There is no tongue like in Jism or Murder. In Nazar, the kiss happens between the protagonists at the end of a relationship where they need each other. It's not climaxing into copulation, but a climax of longing ending in a hug after which the camera pulls out."
So what is Mahesh Bhatt's stand on it? "I think we should be sensitive to the ethos of that land.
We should be sensitive to the ethos of Pakistan, anything that upsets their sensibilities I wouldn't be
— Mahesh Bhatt
If as producer, Mahesh (Bhatt) orders me to remove the kiss I will have to do it. But I don't understand what is so terrible about a kiss?
– Soni Razdan
Anything that upsets their sensibilities I wouldn't be a party to.
Today, I am not just a filmmaker but also a bridge builder between the two countries. I didn't know there would be so much of hullabaloo that I would be writing to the President of Pakistan about it.
Since we plan to have a theatrical release of Nazar in Pakistan, anything that we show there has to be monitored."
Soni Razdan says, "Why are they telling us what to do? It's just a kiss and very much an intrinsic part of the scene. If I remove it, it will lose its impact. I don't have an issue about it, if as producer, Mahesh orders me to remove the kiss. But I don't understand what is so terrible about a kiss?
It's a culmination of a love scene and there is no obscenity or vulgarity in it. What I want to know is why am I being told what to do in my country by another country? Why are they questioning me when I don't disrespect their country's guidelines."
Bhatt and wife Soni seem to be divided over the issue. Bhatt says, "Soni asks me how can the sensibilities of a foreign country infringe upon India and our freedom of expression and it is very unfair if you get browbeaten by a medieval faction. But I am at the receiving end and I have the responsibility of bridge building."
Meanwhile, Meera is planning to take legal action against some of the Pakistani newspapers.
"The newspaper Khabrein in Lahore printed Meera's photo and said it was vulgar. And they've said that when Meera returns they will summon her.
The actress has decided to move court and take action against some newspapers for maligning her.
She wants to know how she has degraded the Pakistani culture and what are the liberties an artist is allowed to take.
She says, "I won't be at the mercy of officials who keep coming and going."