FIRST NIGHT SCENE

The rustic folk song of an older couple familiar with each other, but who played the man wooing the woman act with many children around them, were shot at first, then Madhu wore the black nightie. She pinned it so that there was no skin show. But the black lace did expose her skin in holes, letting the cold air of Coorg in to her dress, causing a shiver. Madhu never wore any nightie and walked in front of strangers, the costume itself was an invasion of her privacy. Varadraj allowed only Madhu’s mother inside the room for the scene.Shanthala felt acutely uncomfortable, morally responsible for the scene before her. She sat on the edge of the sofa, holding her self stiffly, her pretty face looked guilty, and scared, Madhu understood that look; she was seeing it in the mirror everyday . She was secretly relieved; she knew her mother was cured of the longing for limelight. She held her mother’s hand just before the lights were set, “It is only an act, it is not real, I can handle this”

The intensity, on the threshold of  consummation of a marriage was displayed by averted glances, clasping a fist opening into a hand, that tilt of the head moving back suggesting an offer of the body, then rolling on the bed careful not to touch him,  Madhu ascertaining that nightie should not move up by the motion , were shot. AD did not touch her unnecessarily, he was also uncomfortable.He was a chivalrous gentleman basking in the arc lights. There were a few retakes of some gestures; Varada raj was politely deferential towards her discomfort, gently directing the novice.

Everyone on the sets were pointedly kind to her, as if she was a victim except Jnanesh, he enjoyed looking at her discomfiture. He disliked virtue as if it was a rare illness, that  had to be cured by some aggressive interventions.To him virtue was a luxury of the rich or the elite…Madhu thought of the million brides in the Indian arranged marriage in bed with a stranger who married them being grateful to the gentleness with which a man dealt with their bodies. Even though her hesitancy was pampered, a crew mostly consisting of men, looking at her as a woman submitting to a man her body, in a bedroom, made her feel violated. At some primordial animal plane, the experience outraged her, like being shown her place in the world of men. Her actions in the scene, making every man who watched that scene think of her as a sexual object.  No one thought of being gracious to AD afterwards, the man was supposed to be in control in such situations.

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8 thoughts on “FIRST NIGHT SCENE

  1. i just love the way you are able to capture the coyness and discomfort of Madhu in this scene, and how “the costume itself was an invasion of her privacy.” this line, “Madhu ascertaining that nightie should not move up by the motion,” underlines that. however, this line cracked me up real good. there are other things i like about this piece. first, the opposites “It is only an act, it is not real,” the act may be unreal, but the discomfort and shame are real. also, the fact that averted eyes suggest looking. second, i like how the nightie is given a male form by the omission of ‘the’ – “… then rolling on the bed careful not to touch him, Madhu ascertaining that nightie should not move up by the motion.”

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    1. Here the perspective is of an amateur actress who feels trapped in an act she did not choose. Non professionals do not read the screen play before signing a film. It is a vicarious experience of a first night that was with out the consent against her will. Nudity is a big thing in India. People are judged especially women based on their clothes. Recently there were orders forbidding women to wear provocative clothes ( short skirts). I guess facts move easily in a dress called fiction. Literature does reflect society.

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  2. Perhaps you need to read the entire novel. There was no mention of casting couch at all. I understand your perspective, the writing is not to justify. It is a perspective of an actress , how one can get disillusioned with fame and lack of art , in many ventures that profess art. Thank you for your interest , perhaps future chapters will answer some of your queries.

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