Nagesh Kukunoor spends 40 lakh on a ‘dirty’ brothel


Guess who wanted to ‘Get real’ recently! Film maker Nagesh Kukunoor has spent an insane Rs. 40 lakh to reconstruct a brothel to get the feel of a real one. His upcoming project, Lakshmi is based on true events. The theme of the film is a thirteen year old sex trafficking survivor and the atrocities she suffers and her fight for justice. Nagesh Kukunoor plans to expose the harsh reality of human trafficking and child prostitution through this film and he is leaving no stone unturned in making the film as real as possible.

A pioneer of low budget cinema in India, Nagesh Kukunoor is known for completing his debut film ‘Hyderabad Blues’ within flat 17 days and a budget of Rs. 17 lakh. A staunch believer in ‘reinventing’ and ‘rethinking’, Kukunoor has excelled himself this time by shelling out a whopping Rs. 40 lakh to recreate a brothel room the way it should actually look like.

In order to achieve this, a film’s set designer, Haris Umar Khan visited the red-light areas of Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai to get the essence and idea of brothel rooms. Describing his experience, he says, ‘Brothels are intensely neglected spaces as inhabitants don’t have a romantic bond with their vicinity – conjunction women, nor a group who revisits them. These are claustrophobic places, with up to 4 beds in a pigeonhole-like room’.

To achieve this imagery and effect, Haris has taken ten bedrooms and converted them into a genuine and unhygienic brothel atmosphere. A set designer said, ‘We recreated puke by diluting food with acid, we burnt tyres to paint the walls with slag and chipped away the wall paint. We shopped for used underwear and garments and hung them about. We fundamentally took a clean place and wrecked it.’ Only the madam of the brothel has been given a clean room.

Nagesh Kukunoor maintains that he tries to stay away from formulas when it comes to making films. He does not like repeating himself and gets bored if he does that. He perceives the joy of filmmaking in trying new things. His low budget films have given him wide acclaim which he owes to the strong storylines. Going along the same lines as Madhur Bhandarkar in keeping reel life as close to real life, Nagesh has certainly outdone himself this time. We certainly look forward to the film ‘Lakshmi’ for its authenticity, effects and an intriguing storyline.


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