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In a first for India, Hollywood 'intimacy coordinator' hired for web-series Mastram

Produced by Prabhleen Kaur Sandhu, Mastram stars Anshuman Jha, Tara Alisha Berry and Rani Chatterjee. The web-series will be streamed on MX Player.

Our Correspondent

Before the advent of the internet, porn was not so easily accessible at the click of a button. In those days, books with sleazy covers would sell like the proverbial hot cakes at nondescript roadside bookstalls and railway stations.

Most of these books were written by an anonymous writer or group of writers who went by the name, Mastram. Now, Prabhleen Kaur Sandhu, under her banner Almighty Motion Pictures, has decided to produce a web-series on this character. The web-series stars Anshuman Jha, Tara Alisha Berry and Rani Chatterjee.

The web-series is a biopic of sorts of the writer who is considered the doyen of Hindi erotica. Since this is an adult web-series and features many intimate scenes, the makers have, for the first time in India, hired an intimacy coordinator, Amanda Cutting.

Canadian Cutting has worked in the past on an unaired prequel to Game Of Thrones, The Magicians and The Good Doctor. “When there is a child on set, we have a chaperone. An animal on set requires a handler. Stunts need an action director. Similarly, intimacy coordinators are the need of the hour,” said Cutting.

First up, she conducted a workshop with the artistes featuring in the web-series to prepare them mentally for the work. Proper oral and body hygiene was her priority. "They make passionate love by the beach, reads the script, but what does that mean and entail?” Cutting said. "It is a huge task to sort out what are the limits of the word 'passionate'. How far are the artistes asked to go? Will they feel the need to push beyond their personal boundaries?"

Cutting relies heavily on her kit that includes knee and elbow pads and modesty garments. She uses varied skin tones to cover genitalia to give the artistes a psychological edge in making them feel that they are covered and not in their birthday suits.

This is not the first time that a project on this fictional writer has been taken up. Akhilesh Jaiswal, dialogue writer for films like Gangs Of Wasseypur (2012), had made a film, also titled Mastram (2013), on the same subject. Interestingly, Tara Alisha Berry, who is part of this web-series, was also in that film. She had played Mastram's wife Renu.

Correction, 25 April 2020: A quote from Amanda Cutting has been revised to reflect more accurately what she said.

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