It has been only a few days since Hollywood industry was completely left in shock when Academy award nominee and Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci admitted that he and Marlon Brando had conspired against Maria Schneider and that the rape scene in Last Tango In Paris was non-consensual. He admitted that he felt guilty but did not regret the decision because he wanted a girl’s rage and humiliation as their reaction rather than an actress’ reaction. Since then, it has raised many questions about how big names in the industry got away with sexual harassment and molestation and are still allowed to make movies.
A new story now has come into the limelight that shows the darkest side of Indian film industry. It is about the time in Bollywood when veteran actress Rekha was forcibly kissed by actor Biswajeet Chatterjee. Indian filmmaker Nikita Deshpande shared an excerpt from Yasser Usman’s book titled Rekha: The Untold Story where he talks about a kissing scene between Biswajeet and Rekha in Anjana Safar when she was just 15 years old. He talks about the scene which was not agreed by Rekha and it was filmmaker Raja Nawathe’s idea in agreement with Biswajeet.
The excerpt reads, “The shooting of Anjana Safar was underway in Bombay’s Mahboob Studio. Raja Nawathe was the director and cinematographer of the film. In the very first schedule of the film, Kuljeet Pal (the director), Raja and Biswajeet (the lead actor) had hatched a plan, with Rekha as the unsuspecting victim. That day a romantic scene was to be filmed between Rekha and Biswajeet. Every last detail of the strategy had been decided before the shoot. As soon as the director Raj Nawathe said ‘action’, Biswajeet took Rekha in his arms and pressed his lips on hers. Rekha was stunned. This kiss had never been mentioned to her. The camera kept rolling; neither was the director ordering ‘cut’ nor was Biswajeet letting go of her. For all of five minutes, Biswajeet kept kissing Rekha. Unit members were whistling and cheering. Her eyes were tightly shut but they were full of tears.”
Biswajeet had also talked about the scene and admitted that it was completely Raja Nawathe’s idea. He said, Raja had insisted that he kiss Rekha, not yet fifteen, catching her by surprise. Biswajeet maintained that it was not his fault that he was merely working on the director’s instructions. It was not for his enjoyment, but important for the film. Rekha felt betrayed and was furious.
— Nikita Deshpande (deepblueruin) December 7, 2016