The Leena Yadav-directed Parched has been getting rave reviews and winning awards on the international festival circuit. But on Sunday, the dusty drama revolving around three women in a remote village in Gujarat who break free of century-old traditions which have kept them locked in servitude was making news for a different reason after two lovemaking sequences featuring Radhika Apte emerged online.
One of them showed the expanse of her bare back as she locks lips, while the other featured frontal nudity. The makers had planned to blur out the latter for the film’s theatrical release in India. Them going viral come as a rude shock.
Producer Aseem Bajaj was unaware of the incident and when informed said he may approach the cyber cell of the Mumbai police to have them removed. “I don’t think the leak happened in India. The film has released in the US and France and its possible someone uploaded them from there. The scenes are not sensational or titillating in any way. But in our country while rape videos are available freely, sex is still considered taboo so we had planned to blur out the breasts. Radhika plays a woman who has been beaten up all her life and is yearning for a loving touch,” he informs.
The producer goes on to add that there was never any intention to objectify the actress. “She’s like my sister, we did not set out to exploit her in any way. This kind of attitude stems from the way people view such scenes. I didn’t see men in the US and France ‘getting excited’. We haven’t sent the film to the Indian censors yet but I am confident the CBFC will understand the thought behind them and agree that they are integral to the narrative. We are not ashamed of these scenes.”
This isn’t the first time Radhika’s nude scenes have been leaked online. Last year, a clip from Anurag Kashyap’s 20-minute short film made its way to the internet too. The cyber cell had registered a case against an unknown person for leaking the clip.
Anurag’s film was part of an anthology which featured top directors from countries like Japan, Chile, Australia and Mexico with the recurring theme of `forbidden love.’ It was meant to release only in the international market and was inspired by a true story. The sequence in question was only a few seconds long and had the actress lifting her dress to expose her lower front part. It was absolutely non-sexual and, sensitive to his actress, Anurag had filmed it with an allwomen crew.
Even during the post-production, the sequence was either sent blank or pixelated so nobody would even know who it featured. The film was delivered to New York around March 2015 and out of nowhere the video popped up online. Anurag had got in touch with then Mumbai Police Commissioner, Rakesh Maria, and the cyber crime branch took it on as top priority.
Facebook and Whatsapp were also written to and the video was eventually taken off.