MUMBAI: The entire unit of Bipasha Basu’s new supernatural thriller ‘Aatma’ is talking about how traumatized Bipasha was when for a sequence of acute domestic violence she had to be beaten up black and blue by her on-screen husband Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
Nawaz, as we all know, is a method actor, who goes all out for authenticity. Apparently Nawaz gor excessively involved with the scene and let loose the kind of violence that Bipasha had never even heard of, let alone experienced. Says a source close to the project, “It was a sequence where Nawaz had to hit Bipasha repeatedly and Bipasha had to be fully prepared for it. But when the time came to shoot it she was shaken beyond what she expected. Nawazuddin wasn’t faking the violence. And Bipasha was taking it on her chin, literally. It was horrifying for her because no one had ever raised a hand on her. To be suddenly exposed to this torrent of violence was too much for her to take.”
Apparently Bipasha broke down in the middle of the sequence and locked herself away. Pack-up was ordered. Director Suparn Verma volunteered to tone down the sequence.
Confirming the violent sequence Nawazuddin says, “I am no stranger to domestic violence. In the small town of Uttar Pradesh where I come from it is a common practice. I’ve seen it in my own family. Many of my uncles would thrash their wives habitually and I’d be a mute witness. I’ve never hit a woman in my life. I never knew I’d one day have to do a scene where I’ve to beat up my wife.”
Nawaz admits it freaked Bipasha out. “I offered to tone down my aggression. I didn’t want her to get hurt. But she said it should look realistic and it should repel audiences. So I went with a total intensity.”
“Bipasha was badly shaken. She left the set and locked herself for two hours. Hats off to her dedication.”
The question now is, would the censor board with its new consciousness of violence against women allow this lengthy sequence of domestic violence?
Defends Nawaz, “Audiences are going to be horrified and repelled when they see me beating up Bipasha. The idea is to create a sense of revulsion towards domestic violence. Even my uncles would think twice before raising their hands against their wives after seeing the way it looks on screen”
In the past Preity Zinta in Deepa Mehta’s ‘Heaven On Earth’ and Aishwarya Rai in Jagmohan Mundhra’s ‘Provoked’ were traumatized beyond belief or relief while playing battered wives.