Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Kiss

Picture from here
"Now, we are here. This is the most important part of the film. This kiss is the most important thing about the film. This is what should tell the audience if both your characters are supposed to be together. Your love story so far has been a series of hits and misses and now finally, you are here. Look at her, she is Sajida. The one for whom your heart beats and your blood boils. The one for whom you have risked even death itself just so you can feel her forbidden touch. And you, Malicka, you as Sajida have been waiting all your life for this moment. You have fled your wedding on the promise made to you eleven years ago when you were but children. Your love is one of desperation. You know loving him will destroy you but you cannot help yourself. You are lost. You are his and only he can save you from this jump off the cliff into the unknown. Are you with me?"

We both nodded. What could we do. Draped across each other in a state of suggestive undress whilst a frantic crew orbitted around us, there was nothing Kunal and I could do but nod. Ask anyone in our line of work and they will tell you that it does not matter how many movies you do, the love scenes are the most uncomfortable. First, there is the fact that you have to pretend to feel all that emotion for someone you are not supposed to. Even if your body responds, you have to act like it doesn't while acting like it does. It never ceases to be embarassing for either one of you to suddenly become aware that the other is aroused. That has led many a leading pair down the hurried path back to their trailers where they rip the clothes off each other, only to figure out six months after the movie has been released that that was all it was: a reaction and not a connection.

Then, there is the crew. They, avoiding your gaze and you, avoiding theirs. If you are established like Kunal and I, you can demand a closed set. But if you are just starting out, you can find yourself under the assessing stares of almost fifty people trying to make sure that you don't fuck up their work. Makeup needs you to remain dry and intact all through the shot; something I never quite understood when one is placed under such severe lighting. Wardrobe needs for the costumes to come off effortlessly and in such a way as to imply that if the audience purchased the same pieces, they might find themselves in similar embraces of passion. The Cinematographer, Lighting crew and Director, all pressed to make the shot as suggestive as possible without actually having to result in unsimulated sex. There would be stills; the most excruciating part. Taken by the photographer, they would run with promos and be leaked to blogs and buzz makers so as to create the illusion that your ticket at the cinemas would buy you audience to witness the forbidden. That is when you and your co-star have to hold contorted positions for minutes at a time.

I typically zone out during these takes. I go into auto pilot. With a body like mine, I have no hang ups about nudity, even though I never do full frontal. Sex sells and I get paid to suggest that I've got the kind that all men or some women want. With 15 mil a flick, I think I am quite convincing. And so far, I have not had to compromise my principles. That is not to say that I have not slept with some of my co stars. That is a story for another day. Today, it's all about this scene. This scene where Sajida and Qais steal a night of passion beneath the beautiful darkness of an Egyptian night. This scene shared between Kunal and I. This scene that would make or break the movie.
"Remember, you can keep it close lipped. All I need is the look in both your eyes. You kiss, pull away briefly and move into a hurried embrace, " Said, the director went on, "then you, Kunal, push here slowly back against the bed of discarded clothes. Remember to place your hands, here, here and here..." he directed, pointing at my neck, stomach and thighs. Kunal nods, his curly hair falling over one eye. He looks at me and winks. I wink back and chuckle at his attempt at being cavalier. I know he is nervous. I can feel it. I know because so am I.
Said gives us the thumbs up and pulls away to his highly coveted position behind the camera, in front of the preview screen. We are going for action in a minute. I lean into Kunal,
"You ready?" I whisper, impressed that I am able to still the trembling in my voice. He nods without looking at me. He can't anyway; make up is giving his sweaty brow, one last dab.
The AD takes control of the set. Everything dies down. Everyone is in their places. The crew and the cast: Kunal and I. It is cold, the coolness sweeping past on a soft breeze from the lake nearby. I can see the reflection of the night's moon on the still surface. We are on the river bank and it is the last shoot of the night.
"Silence on the set. Places everyone." No one moves. Said could throw a tantrum and whatever he has in his hand if he feels his shot is compromised by a crew member. He is holding a styrofoam of coffee that I know would be stiff, black, bitter and smoldering hot.
Lighting crew nods
The poor boy holding the boom mike nods
There is a pause as the DOP looks at his camera.
"Mark it"
A young production assistant, grateful to be on set hurries forward and marks the shot, "Sahara Rose. Scene thirty four, take one. By the riverside."
She moves away
Kunal's lips are less than an inch from mine. I can feel his minty breath on my face, his cologne scented skin against mine. We have both been sprayed down with fake mist, simulating the pespiration that passion brings. The shot is simple, has been choreographed over and over. It would be a chaste kiss and a caressing embrace, from which my lover will ease me on my back and move between my thighs. Then we cut. A minute or two that would be edited to a three minute sequence justaposing close ups of skin, limbs and parted lips with soft suggestive music for what should be an erotic encounter. It has all been explained and defined in the contract.
I have other plans. I want this man and I am going in for the kill. I am going to give him something he did not see coming. I can feel the tenseness in his frame and know that he is politely arching his body to give me some space and avoid his pressing weight. I hear the signal and I do what I plan to do.
I rise so fast, he has no time to react. I push him off me and to a sitting position so that I can move to straddle him. I hear the collective gasp as the artfully placed piece of muslin fabric falls away from my naked bosom. Thrusting my hand in his full head of hair, I pull his head back and cover his lips, opened with the pain of my grip, with mine. He tries to pull away and I push into him, coaxing him to respond.
"Kiss me." I moan against his mouth,"Kiss me. Tonight is ours. No one can take this away. Tonight belongs to you and I. Kiss me"
I pull back and look into his eyes. Those lines were never in the script. He knows I mean them.
I can almost from the corner of my eye that Said's mouth, like most of the crew, is hanging open and his coffee is pouring slowly on the floor.
I move my hand slowly from Kunal's hair to cup his face, brushing his wet lower lip with my thumb.
"Kiss me, my love"
He does, crushing my mouth to his. I let go and he let's go and we fall into each other's arms, giving in to weeks of pent up emotion, stolen glances and suggestive conversation. I melt in the taste of his mouth and he, warm, wet, minty, fresh and suprisingly sweet, his tongue responds to mine.

It does not matter that the movie is initially banned. The censorship board feels that the kiss is a bit too much. The press takes the issue, lights a fire to it and runs it day in, day out. Advocates for the freedom of speech speak out in opposition to the ban. Conservatives cry out that we, Kunal and I have demoralised the future generation by exposing them to improper behaviour. A few bribes are paid under the table. The movie is giving an R rating. It is sold out in every theatres. Pirated copies are found on the internet. Youtube, blogs and chatrooms have us as their topic of discussions resulting in heated debates where insults and name calling become the fashion.

Said enters the film in an international film festival. We win an award. Kunal is nominated for his performance as the Best Male Performance. I am nominated for Best Performance in An Epic or Drama.

We arrive at the award ceremony at the same time. There is an amazing opening dance performance by a seasoned classical dance artist. The category wins pass by. Kunal's category comes up. He wins.

In his acceptance speech, he thanks God, the director, producers, cast and crew. He thanks me his co star for a professional working environment. Then he thanks his wife for her undying support


Miss Definitely Maybe said...

this took my breathe away
from the start
to the finish
Girl you good

miz-cynic said...

catwalq is back...and better!i knew from the beginning...the guy would be married and i knew tht they would share some kind of passion but not on stage like tht....cldnt it be edited or something if the director didnt rily want it in his movie or something???

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N.I.M.M.O said...

What else could the poor say? LOL.

This is really good Catwalq.

Anonymous said...

You should've seen my mouth drop at the last sentence. This is good x

maitumbi said...

A kiss is just a kiss jo...

Smaragd said...

u are a brilliant writer. i am sure u know that already.

this post was...



articulate.(if u can use that word for writing)


well done.

Allied said...

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he is married? DanG!!

But this was brillant!

ibiluv said...

why are the good ones or the ones we like always taken?????????

great writing

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