Fenil and Bollywood

Lekha refuses to shoot topless scene; producers give in

Posted on: January 9, 2010

Despite intense pressure from the makers of Peter Gaya Kaam Se, Lekha Washington refused to do a topless bike scene with Rajeev Khandelwal

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; January 07, 2010)

// // // It was an innocuous enough scene – meant as a promotional video – but the twist was more than what Lekha Washington could handle. The actor, who stars opposite Rajeev Khandelwal in Peter Gaya Kaam Se, was all set to do the scene for which she was to ride a bike with him. But when John Owen, who is making his directorial debut with the film, told Lekha that she was required to remove her top and clasp Rajeev face on with her bare back exposed to the camera, she balked.

And when she was told the scene would be shot on the streets of Mumbai, she just put her foot down. “She went back home saying that she would definitely not do such a shoot,” says a source who was present on the sets.

The shooting venue was changed thrice, but Lekha still refused to budge. Then the filmmakers discussed shooting the scene in Goa and Lekha reluctantly agreed to go ahead with it. Before the shot was ready to roll, she demanded that a few towels be tucked between her and Rajeev – for obvious reasons. But before a unit hand could rush them to her, Lekha had changed her mind again and refused to shoot.

Lekha Washington with Rajeev Khandelwal

Desperate to get the shot done and over with, it was the filmmakers who bowed to Lekha’s conditions – that she would wear a bikini top and hold Rajeev from behind, very lightly.

After the shot was canned, Lekha still seemed unhappy and the unit members were overheard explaining to her that the shot was integral to the film. “The film is a romantic thriller. You and Rajeev have done an intimate scene in the film, then why make such a fuss about clasping him bareback?”

For his part, Rajeev said, “It was a very bold shot. Lekha felt uncomfortable. But somehow we pulled it off.”

Lekha was more forthcoming, making it clear she was pushed beyond her comfort level to do this particular promotional exercise. “It was not about being bareback. It was more about the explicit way in which I had to clasp Rajeev,” she says, then adding with a laugh, “But I didn’t ask for towels. I was clear that I wouldn’t do that shot in the manner they had planned it. Later I did it with a bikini top. I saw no reason to do it bare back. Peter Gaya Kaam Se is pretty much for universal viewing.”

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