Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, who has used graphic dialogues and nudity in his debut digital web series "Guns and Thighs", based on the Mumbai underworld, says he has used the freedom offered by the new age entertainment platform.
Justifying the bold scenes in the trailer, he says they are not purely intended to titillate the audience.
Asked if the trailer, which has drawn attention, was a well-planned strategy to titillate, Varma told IANS here: "Titillating is a very relative world. At times, a character or a situation can titillate someone (and lead him/her) to watch the show.
"So you cannot specify what is exactly the element of titillation in the viewers' mind. Yes, the story of the web series has age restrictions, as it is adult content, but when an audience is clicking on the link to watch an episode, from the name itself they get an idea of the subject matter. Therefore, there is no element of surprise."
Varma pointed out how "anything that is restricted to adults is either violence or sex".
"In fact, that is the rule of our censor board as well. My point is, we are living in a world with people of different choices and sensibilities, where if you, as an individual, do not want to watch something, don't (watch it), but don't force others to do the same. Let them celebrate their choice as well. That is what freedom of choice and expression is about."
Known for making Bollywood crime thrillers on the underworld -- "Company", "Ab Tak Chhappan" and "D" to name some -- Varma has once again explored the genre in the web series, which is set between 1995 and 2005.
"I think the genre always does not matter, but the storytelling does. Yes, this web series is on the Mumbai underworld, but the style of narration, imagery, characters, situations... these are very different," added the filmmaker.
Explaining the title, he said: "You see, guns and thighs are the symbols of power and sex. In politics, mostly, radical decisions are taken under the influence of power and sex.
"On the other hand, as I always say, my prime interest in filmmaking has come from Amitabh Bachchan's gun and Zeenat Aman's thighs... So now you know that the title is apt. It's very symbolic."
The National Award-winning filmmaker is exploring the digital platform for the first time, and sees its advantages. "More than anything else, it is the creative freedom that we get on web series. There is no time limit of two hours that I have to compress my thought (into), keeping the interval and duration of a film in mind.
"I have also taken liberty on that."
Asked why he decided to show a woman nude and not a man, he quipped: "Maybe as a man, I do not want to see a man's nude body. I think a woman (film)maker would like to do that. However, I believe a woman's body is more beautiful than a man's."
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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