‘The scene worked because it was spontaneous’: Kiara Advani on her masturbation scene in Lust Stories – Kiara Advani is just five films old, but her latest short for Lust Stories, directed by Karan Johar, has got her the appreciation and recognition that she has been waiting for. She tells us what was going through her mind while filming the scene where she was pleasuring herself. Excerpts…
You have been noticed for your performance in Lust Stories. Do you consider this the best phase of your career?
As I’m seeing so much love coming from the audience and the industry, I feel more grateful about how my journey has been so far. If Lust Stories would have been my first film, I don’t know if I would have been so grounded. But as my debut film (Fugly, 2014) didn’t get that instant love, I realised that at the end of the day, everything is temporary. That’s why I had the drive to give more than 100 per cent. Today, when that love is coming, it’s a bit scary since I have seen the flip side as well. So far, the graph has been good, but it gets tougher when you reach a particular point. I still haven’t reached that as yet.
Did you have reservations about filming the vibrator scene?
I did it because I had no reservations or inhibitions. I never thought what the repercussions could be. That’s why my performance in that scene wasn’t hampered in any way. I didn’t overthink about whether people would be ready for it. Now that it has been accepted, I feel that’s a good thing. Of course, there are other actresses who have also done this and I’m happy it started a conversation.
This is a topic that was waiting to be addressed and quite a few films have dealt with it within a year…
At the end of the day, films mirror our society. It will take time for everybody to open up to this and accept it. They are not instantly going to sit up and change the way they think about it. The whole thing will take its own course and that’s fair enough. A film is made to entertain and this one had an issue which was lying beneath the surface. It’s great that we have commercial filmmakers, who make family films and understand the aesthetics well, taking this route. They know how to bring the emotions out there without being vulgar. After all, it’s a natural instinct. Why can’t a woman do this and demand an equal part in the relationship?
But the element of humour in the scene helped…
Absolutely. It was the humour that made me confident and uninhibited to do the scene. I’ve seen it before in international films, which have been done in a humorous way, so I was exposed to it. It didn’t cross the line of vulgarity and that’s why it worked. It wasn’t meant to titillate because the minute it does, it becomes unnecessary and we forward the scene and move on. It all depends on how you use the skill of filmmaking to execute the scene.
What were the things that were running through your mind just before you enacted the scene?
From the time I heard it till the time the scene was shot, I had different thoughts. Just a week before the shoot, we did a costume look test. I asked Karan if we were going to do any workshop. He told me, ‘No, you just come on the set, act, and have fun.’ I Googled how a vibrator works and checked out a few scenes, too. The fact that we didn’t prep helped us keep everything spontaneous. After doing this particular short, I’ve realised it’s all about the timing in comedy. The more rehearsed you are, the more boring it gets. Every night, I would get my lines and just had that much time to learn them. All our scenes were hilarious, and Karan had so many inputs while shooting it as well. He’s an actor himself, so at times he would perform each of our characters.
Is there something you would never do on screen?
I’d be careful about an intense lovemaking scene. I need to know how it’s being shot because I’ve reservations about how much to show or not. Anything that’s there just for effect and not in context to the story, doesn’t work for me.