Neil Nitin Mukesh is the first mainstream hero to have done a scene of masturbation in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Jail.
Reliving the highly unconventional moments of on-screen realism Neil says, “Frankly if it was some other director I’d have said no. But knowing the way Madhur depicts explicit sexual scenes I said yes.
We shot the masturbation sequence with 450 other actors on the set with me. All the other inmates are asleep when I do it. Now a lot of it has been cropped off. But we still see the character doing it. There’s just a suggestion of it now.”
A portion of the sequence was voluntarily removed from the film before it was presented to the censor board.
Says Neil, “Honestly, after Madhur and I shot the masturbation sequence we found we had gone too far. It was too explicit. It was just not jelling with Indian concepts of aesthetics. So we decided to knock it off quite a bit by mutual consent. We just wondered if the flow of the narration would be hampered.”
That’s not only sexually explicit sequence Neil has participated in for Jail. “In one sequence I go in the night to the bath and see a boy performing oral sex on another. Their pleasure is interrupted by me, and the boy says, ‘You had to come and spoil the fun.’ While we agreed to remove dialogue the scene of oral sex remains.”
Neil’s colleagues say they would gladly do a nude scene for a role. Ranbir Kapoor already has in Saawariya. But auto- eroticism is going too far.
Neil explains, “My nude or masturbation scenes are not for titillation. It’s a very practical need in the script. My character is in Jail without sex for 2 and 1/2 years. What does he do? He naturally seeks pleasure by himself. In the scene that we shot my character fantasizes about his girlfriend and gets his gratification.”
Comparing the moment to the dramatic poignant and memorable sequence in Alan Parker’s 1979 prison drama Midnight Express where the young prison inmate makes his girlfriend undress from across the glass partition dividing prisoners from visitors Neil sighs, “Oh my God! That was a wonderful moment. But we couldn’t show something like this in Jail.
Even the love-making scene with Mugdha Godse has been so aesthetically shot. Like the love making scene between Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic. It became an out-of-the-body experience for the audience.”
Even the censors’ blocking off Neil’s frontal nudity has been taken in the right spirit by the young actor.
“At first I was upset. I realize I am the first Indian actor to show full frontal nudity. But the scene was that of humiliation, not titillation, like the naked parade in Bandit Queen.
Even though I don’t get raped physically Jail is the first Hindi film to show the hero’s emotional rape. We’ve created all the hell inside prison. Audiences will actually see the horror behind the prison walls.”