How intimate scenes are shot in Bollywood & what is the job of an intimacy coordinator?
The content of Bollywood films has come a long way. There are fresh stories and at the same, there is a fresh approach to present those ideas. Today, actors and directors believe in experimenting to make things look real. The industry has become more accepting in terms of content. Actors are okay shooting intimate scenes to make their chemistry look crackling.
But shooting an intimate scene requires a lot of technicalities. Gone are the days when sex in films was symbolic and suggestive: Flowers blooming or feet rubbing. Have you ever wondered how intimate scenes are shot in Bollywood? Contrary to how effortless, natural and erotic the scenes look on screen, Bollywood intimate scenes take a great deal of thoughtfulness, hard work and preparation to create.
Intimacy coordinator is a new concept for India. But doors are getting open for this profession as the OTT content has taken over and they are more experimenting in nature. Aastha Khanna is India’s first intimacy coordinator and helps in choreograph sex scene on the screen.
Do you know there are intimacy coordinators who help in executing the intimate scene?
Yes, there are people who actually help in coordinating an intimate scene in the film. The main job of the intimacy coordinator is to read the scene and understand the vision of the director. He or she then talk to actors, articulating what the director wants. They are also supposed to take note of how much actors are comfortable and are they willing to experiment.
What if a particular scene demands nudity?
There could be times when a particular scene may demand nudity to make things look real and relatable. So if you are watching any actor naked on screen, it is important to know that legal contracts that outlined the details of the scene were signed prior to the actor accepting the role. Apart from it, an intimacy coordinator understands the requirement of the scene, checks whether the closet protocol is being followed, costumes trials have taken place and helps in shooting the scene.
What is FRIES? And why actors need to understand this?
Actors are supposed to give consent for the intimate scene and mind you consent can change anytime. An intimacy coordinator ensures that all guidelines are clear to the co-actor, actor and the production house. Actors are expected to tick all the boxes of an acronym called FRIES – Freely give, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic and Specified. Everyone involved in the scene is expected to tick mark these so that there is no confusion.
What if an actor is not ready to shoot the scene?
There could be times when an actor is not ready to shoot a particular scene. In that case, the intimacy coordinator tries convincing the actor. He or she understands from the actor that what is holding them back. There could be personal reasons or some external factors. They can be concerned about their image or it could be even about the taboo that sex holds in our society. Finally, if an actor doesn’t agree body doubles are used to shoot the scene.
Scope of Intimacy coordinator in India: What Aastha has said about it?
Aastha Khanna, a 26-year-old girl is India’s first certified intimacy coordinator. The role is increasing in the industry after the 2018 #Metoo cases. Many platforms like HBO, Netflix, and Amazon Prime have started hiring an intimate coordinator to avoid any exploitation. Talking to BBC, Aastha said, her job can be compared to an action or a dance choreographer – but for intimate scenes. Talking about the profession she said that there would be more intimate coordinators – if there is more intimate content shot and producers are aware of the fact that a profession like this exists.