Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Safe Sets, Bold Stories: Nandini Sengupta Leads the Way in Tollywood's Intimacy Coordination Evolution"

Bollywood has long been a trendsetter, and the inclusion of intimacy coordinators exemplifies its commitment to fostering a safe and respectful working environment. This practice sets a noteworthy standard for the film industry as a whole. In a groundbreaking move for the Indian film industry, especially in Bengal, the role of an intimacy coordinator takes center stage for the first time. Bengal's Tollywood embraces change with the introduction of Nandini Sengupta, the first-ever intimacy coordinator in the industry who shares her experience with Sreeja Ghosh.

That's fascinating! Could you share your initial thoughts when you were offered the role of an intimacy coordinator for "Raja Rani Romeo"?

Nandini: Absolutely, it was an unexpected but exciting opportunity. I feel honoured that Joydip da trusted me with such a crucial role in the movie.

What is the role of an intimacy coordinator in the film industry, and how do they contribute to the overall production process?

Nandini: Certainly! An intimacy coordinator is a professional hired on film and television sets to ensure that intimate scenes are handled respectfully, safely, and professionally. Their role includes facilitating communication between actors, directors, and crew, establishing boundaries, and choreographing intimate scenes to make the actors feel comfortable and secure. Intimacy coordinators contribute to a positive and respectful work environment, help prevent misconduct, and prioritize the well-being of the performers involved in such scenes.

As an intimacy coordinator, what do you believe is the most crucial aspect of choreographing intimate scenes in a film?

Nandini : The key is to create a safe and comfortable environment for the actors. Communication and trust play a significant role in ensuring that the scenes are tastefully choreographed and respectful.

Given that this is a first for Bengal cinema, do you think this trend will continue, and why is it important?

Nandini: I believe it's a positive step forward for the industry. With increased awareness about the importance of consent and professionalism, having an intimacy coordinator can become a standard practice, ensuring a respectful and supportive work environment for everyone involved.

Could you elaborate on your research process regarding intimacy coordinators?

Nandini: At the start, there was some nervousness stepping into the intimacy coordinator role for 'Raja Rani Romeo.' Thankfully, director Joydeep Banerjee's continuous sharing of articles eased my apprehension. Taking cues from Bollywood's 'Gehraiyaan' and Hollywood's common practices, I've adapted my approach to ensure a smooth process.

Are there challenges in implementing this role, especially with senior actors, or do most actors in Bengal co-operate well with the concept?

Nandini : I've come across the role of an intimacy coordinator, which seems quite prevalent in Hollywood. Interestingly, here in Bengal, not everyone is well-informed about this position. Even when people are aware, there's often concern about how fellow actors may perceive it. Some seniors might not readily agree. However, on our sets, the actors are incredibly cooperative, fostering a positive and collaborative environment.

In my role, I had the responsibility of choosing and coordinating the outfits for the actors. Additionally, I focused on choreographing scenes in a way that aligned with the director's vision, conducting a week of research to ensure aesthetic appeal. It was crucial to communicate and help the actors understand the desired look and atmosphere for each set.

Why has there been a recent surge in the demand for intimacy directors in Bengali movies, despite previous instances of intimate scenes?

Nandini : See we strongly prefer intimate scenes that maintain a sense of elegance and avoid any vulgarity in their portrayal. In my work, I prioritize portraying intimate scenes as a delicate, mutual exchange, focusing on the aesthetics of love-making to offer viewers a profound and sensuous experience. In my opinion, while we've experienced aesthetic sensuous scenes, especially in Rituparno Ghosh's films, there's a need for someone to approach it with a distinct touch, adding a unique perspective to take charge of such moments.

Do you think there will be opportunities  to pursue a career as an intimacy coordinator in upcoming Bengali films?

Nandini : I'm optimistic that people will gradually embrace these updates, and I believe this evolution could lead to a promising career path.

Director Joydip Banerjee of 'Raja Rani Romeo' (which is soon going to release on OTT platform on 29th December) while talking about this said that while working we understand that Barati help is needed. Especially in the case of female actresses, sometimes there is some barrier. Sometimes there is a problem in communication. I have seen these problems in past work. When I came to know about intimacy coordinators in Bollywood and Hollywood, I thought why not here too. And it is much more professional.

At The Trailer launch of Raja Rani Romeo

Incidentally, Arpan Ghoshal played the lead role in this Raja Rani Romeo series.Swikriti Majumdar, Jayjit Banerjee, Ratashree Dutta, Kaushani Mukherjee, Jeet Das etc. 'Raja Rani Romeo 'is a love story as well as a story of betrayal and revenge.Here all the characters are gray.


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