Sujoy Ghosh: You draw the line between lewdness and love


In a tender scene in Sujoy Ghosh’s segment from Lust Stories 2, leading man Vijay Varma plants a kiss on the forehead of his ladylove, played by Tamannaah Bhatia. How does that fit in an anthology with lust as its central theme? “Kissing a forehead can go down south too, pun intended,” says the director, who has whipped up a thriller within the premise. The Netflix anthology brings together directors Ghosh, R Balki, Konkona Sensharma and Amit R Sharma.

Telling a story about lust foremost requires sensitivity. Ghosh says he was mindful of his interpretation of the subject. “At every step during the writing process, you are taking judgment calls, drawing the line between lewdness and love. We shouldn’t do things just because we can. That’s what I kept telling myself. That’s my only censorship during the writing period.” Did he have to curb his instinct at any point, given the immense scrutiny on OTT offerings now? “We did all that our characters had to. Every creator is a slave to their story. For example, if I feel a story demands nudity and I can’t show that for some reason, I will skip making that film. I will look for another story. There is no middle ground. Fortunately, the CBFC and I have had a pleasant run so far.” 

Sujoy Ghosh

Early on, the director knew that creating a safe space for his actors was of utmost importance while filming the intimate scenes. “We brought in intimacy coordinators to correctly choreograph the scenes. If there isn’t an on-paper mandate, there should be one. I want to provide a sense of security to my actors and give them a safe space to perform.”

After the short film, Ghosh —known to have a knack for thrillers—will display his skills in the adaptation of Keigo Higashino’s bestseller The Devotion of Suspect X. The Kareena Kapoor Khan, Jaideep Ahlawat and Varma-starrer comes years after Drishyam, which had glaring similarities with the Japanese novel. Considering Drishyam has become a successful franchise over the years, is there a pressure to make his offering different? “I won’t comment on other people’s films. We have worked on our script to make a film that hopefully everyone will love.”

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