Violating an actor onscreen without her consent is a subject that caught spotlight after Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci admitted in a 2013 interview, which has resurfaced recently, that actress Maria Schneider never gave her consent to the use of butter as a lubricant in the infamous anal sex scene in his 1972 film Last Tango in Paris. Maria was on 19 when the scene was filmed with a 48-year-old Marlon Brando. And the film’s director justified the scene by saying, “I didn’t want Maria to act her humiliation, her rage. I wanted Maria to feel, not to act, the rage and the humiliation.”
Well looks like not just Hollywood but even its distant cousin Bollywood has its own infamous story of having filmed a ‘love’ scene without the consent of the actress. While many unreported incidents could have occured, the one that got published and which served to shock the nation was the fact that legendary actor Rekha was forcibly kissed without her knowledge or consent by senior actor Biswajeet when she was just 15.
In the book Rekha:The Untold Story, Yaseer Usman writes that the scene was hatched by director of Anjana Safar, Raja Nawathe in connivance with Biswajeet. The director wanted Biswajeet to catch Rekha unaware by the kiss. The veteran actor agreed and when they started filming, Biswajeet pulled the 15-year-old Rekha into his arms pressed his lips against hers for full five minutes. The act left Rekha in tears and the unit members laughing and whistling. Biswajeet later revealed that the idea to kiss Rekha came from the director who wanted to capture her ‘surprised’ expression.
Here is an excerpt from the biography…
“The shooting of Anjana Safar was underway in Bombay’s Mahboob Studio. Raja Nawathe was the director and cinematographer of the film. In the very first schedule of the film, Kuljeet Pal (the director), Raja and Biswajeet (the lead actor) had hatched a plan, with Rekha as the unsuspecting victim. That day a romantic scene was to be filmed between Rekha and Biswajeet. Every last detail of the strategy had been decided before the shoot. As soon as the director Raj Nawathe said ‘action’, Biswajeet took Rekha in his arms and pressed his lips on hers. Rekha was stunned. This kiss had never been mentioned to her. The camera kept rolling; neither was the director ordering ‘cut’ nor was Biswajeet letting go of her. For all of five minutes, Biswajeet kept kissing Rekha. Unit members were whistling and cheering. Her eyes were tightly shut but they were full of tears.
— Nikita Deshpande (@deepblueruin) December 7, 2016
Recalling the day, Biswajeet referred to the incident as Raja Nawathe’s idea. Raja had insisted that he kiss Rekha, not yet fifteen, catching her by surprise. Biswajeet maintained that it was not his fault, that he was merely working on the director’s instructions. “It was not for my enjoyment, but important for the film. Rekha felt betrayed and was furious,” admitted Biswajeet.”
The incident is said to have scarred Rekha. We wonder when forced sexual assault all in the name of art will stop in films.