Filmmaker Vikram Bhatt, who explores the theme of BDSM — a variety of erotic practices or role playing involving bondage, discipline, dominance and submission — in a new web-series titled “Maaya”, says it’s anything but inspired by international film “Fifty Shades of Grey”.
In an interview, Bhatt spoke about the reason behind doing the web-series and why making it as a feature film was not an option he considered. Excerpts:
What prompted you to do a series on BDSM?
I was writing a book on this at first. Wrote a couple of chapters as well, but then I realised that it needed a visual medium. It’s not as much about BDSM as it is about the internet and the anonymity that it gives. You give yourself a username and suddenly you are free of being yourself. You can be who you want and in that you end up becoming more yourself than you ever were. ‘Maaya’ is about that irony. To be your true self, you need to be anonymous.
Do you think sexually deviant behaviour is now an integral part of our social structure?
I don’t really have an answer to that. I know that the millennial have made it more acceptable, but there will always be the ones who will judge. I believe that whatever is safe, sane and consensual between two adults in the privacy of their bedrooms, is not deviant.
Why did you do a web series on BDSM? Why not a feature film?
There are many reasons for that. Firstly, ‘Maaya’ works best in Hinglish. It cannot be tailor-made to any one particular kind of audience that films tend to do now. By that, I mean the single and multiplex division. Also, ‘Maaya’ would have never gotten past the censors and in this, the censors would have been right because I think ‘Maaya’ is more a private watch than a collective movie-going experience.
I also believe that in groups, people are pretentious. In private, they watch everything that appeals to their primordial. Once again, a case of all of us being two people.
Is ‘Maaya’ inspired by “Fifty Shades Of Grey”?
No. It’s not. Unfortunately, anything that is BDSM is ‘Fifty Shades of Grey;. And I see no point in fighting that perception. It’s like saying ‘Dangal’ is ‘Sultan’ because they are about wrestling.
Why did you select Shama Sikandar to play the lead?
I needed someone who was more than willing to surrender to the script, was willing to understand the realm that is BDSM. It’s complex. It’s not just tying and whipping. It’s about surrender and control. She understood what I was saying. To be someone who had kept her desires to herself, who felt judged, had a nervous breakdown… She did it marvellously.
Have you succeeded in being as sexually candid as you wanted to be?
Who is your target audience for “Maaya”?
There are two kinds of people who will watch “Maaya”. One kind that is ready to enjoy some different kind of entertainment and the other who is waiting to ridicule it. Either way, it’s a big piece of the pie.