Intimacy is not easy: Deepika Padukone on shooting for ‘Gehraiyaan’

Film also features Siddhant Chaturvedi, Ananya Panday and Dhairya Karwa


Bollywood star Deepika Padukone on Thursday said on screen intimacy is not an easy task and she credited filmmaker Shakun Batra for creating a safe environment on the sets of her latest movie Gehraiyaan.

Billed as a drama about complex modern relationships, Gehraiyaan also features Siddhant Chaturvedi, Ananya Panday and Dhairya Karwa.

At the film's virtual trailer event, Padukone was all in praise of Batra for creating a safe and secure environment, especially for the film's intimate scenes.

"Shakun gave me and all of us the comfort, you feel safe and secure because intimacy is not easy. It is not something that we ever experienced or explored in Indian cinema before in a way we have in this film.

"So, to go down that route of intimacy and vulnerability is possible when you know the director is not doing it for eyeballs. Because that is where the characters are coming from, their experience and journey. It is possible when you feel safe and secure in the environment,” Padukone told reporters.

In a first for a major Bollywood movie, the film's makers have roped in filmmaker Dar Gai to serve as the intimacy director. The 36-year-old actor said Gehraiyaan is a raw film and she had to dig deep into her real-life experiences to play the role of Alisha.

"I want to say bold but I also don’t want to say bold (because) the way we understood bold in our films... I would say raw. This character is a lot more raw and real than some of the other characters, just emotionally, completely stripped, naked, vulnerable and to be able to do it on screen, it had to come from a deep place.

"It is not to say that I haven’t experienced that before but to this extent I had to really dig places and visit places that aren’t pleasant experiences from my own life as well as dealing with mental health issues. So, all of that put together, it came from a deep place," she added.

Asked how he decided to rope in Dar Gai as the film's intimacy director, Batra said he believes intimacy is a very specialised field and needs a specialist to supervise, just like in choreography and action.

"You have to create an environment where actors feel confident, where you have thought everything and done prep as much as you do for a song or action sequence."

The Kapoor and Sons filmmaker said he had read how intimacy directors form an important part in the making of the film in the West. "There is a procedure…I thought we should adapt those things. My attempt was to design a system where everyone is comfortable. In this entire film, whenever we had a crew, like a cameraman, we wanted to understand their outlook towards intimacy," Batra said.

"We were treating intimacy like a story and we want to see it like a character. So, the prep and the detailing was required. It was important we have an intimacy director. And Dar Gai has contributed a lot to the film. It is important to give her the same respect as we give to all HODs,” he added.   

Praising Padukone, Batra said he was amazed to see the hunger and dedication the Bollywood star had towards the film.

"For me, it was amazing to see her, at this stage of career, trying to do characters that are so challenging. I can’t see this film without her, can’t see this film with anybody else. I am thankful that we did it.

Gehraiyaan also starring Nasseeruddin Shah and Rajat Kapur. Produced by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, the film will release on streaming service Prime Video on February 11.