How close observers are making sex scenes look natural on screen

Sex scenes have never been easier for the characters. In an effort to make them feel safer, the Hindi film industry now employs close-knit directors

makers of last year’s MX Player of the series, Mastram, hired Canadian relations co-ordinator Amanda Cutting to assist during the recording. Inspired by the life of an erotica writer, Mastram introduced several sex scenes, and Cutting’s job was to make sure they happened as smoothly as possible. Then last September, India acquired its first close coordinator at Aastha Khanna, who had just emerged from a 16-week training course from the Intimacy Professionals Association. Assistant director, Khana stumbled upon this niche when she realized that there was no dedicated professional at work. 

“The idea is to help the director see their point of view, while ensuring that the boundaries of the characters are maintained and that no one is allowed to do so,” he said. You now have a few upcoming projects, including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Dharma Productions.

Indian cinema has moved from suggesting footwork and artful use of characters such as sex scenes on screen to realistic, unadulterated scenes in games like Made in Heaven, Four More Shots Please! and Sacred Games. As the industry has lifted its barriers, the culture around shooting these scenes, too, has changed. 

From hiring professionals close to holding workshops and licensing conferences, to using safe words during filming, filmmakers and studios are taking steps to ensure that the actors feel comfortable and safe while filming sex scenes. “Three years ago, [intimacy] was not even in the West,” says Khana. As a result of MeToo’s movement and the unveiling of Hollywood’s biggest actors, HBO show Deuce was among the first to hire a close link in 2018. These professionals are now forced into all HBO shows.

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