"We didn't allow them to have sex! High levels of motivation were created"
Brahman Naman is Netflix’s first original Indian movie and it is definitely one worth watching.
It has been compared with popular and iconic sex comedies like American Pie and The Inbetweeners.
This banter filled film follows three nerds, Naman (Shashank Arora), Ajay (Tanmay Dhanania) and Ramu (Chaitanya Varad), on their quest to lose their virginity.
The film is written by Naman Ramachandran and the popular cult director, Q aka Qaushiq Mukherjee.
In an exclusive Gupshup with DESIblitz, director Q talks about his experience with the movie and the growth of sex comedies in India.
Q has a huge reputation for pushing social and political boundaries in his films. Think back to the controversy when Gandu came out, so naturally we asked him what drives him to push these boundaries, he says:
“Most of our popular culture is about skirting these issues, most of our films are not trying to look at this at all. So I’m actively having a field day because I have all these things that I want to and need to talk about and it’s all out there.”
He adds that Brahman Naman offered the perfect opportunity to talk about controversial issues in an open and hilarious way:
“It was almost like coming home because this is what I was always interested in. This kind of genre of British witty coming of age comedy.”
The Indian censorship board has never been that forgiving when it comes to sex scenes in film. We asked Q whether he believes that sex comedies are becoming more accepted in Indian cinema:
“I feel very strongly that it’s kind of my job to keep pushing this button, that the idea of sexual identity is central to understanding who you are.”
Q’s previous works are very different from Brahman Naman. Aside from the controversial cult film, Gandu, Q has also worked on the likes of the Bengali fantasy film, Tasher Desh (2012) and X: Past is Present (2015):
“I’ve been doing kind of funny stuff so my films are often bordering on funny but it’s difficult to laugh at them because they’re not comedies they’re not jokes,” Q tells us.
“That was a big change because here we were talking in jokes and then finding those gaps within the jokes became my thing.”
“The other thing is also the fact that this was my first English-language film, so I’m comfortable with the language, it was also a challenge, because it was a different beat, it’s a different rhythm.”
Brahman Naman has many weird and funny scenes. Some even involve using a ceiling fan as a homemade masturbation tool, so naturally we had to ask Q about his favourite moment:
“I think my favourite and strangest scene is when Naman is forced to go looking for food and drinks and goes to the village of untouchables, and you’re not ever told who they are, and they basically bitching to these villagers.
“Throughout the film they’ve been criticising and abusing the lower castes and look here they are having to be saved by these guys, as fun. That’s my favourite scene because we deal with it so sweetly.”
Brahman Naman does rely a lot on keeping the humour going throughout the film. We were curious about the ways in which the team kept the actors motivated on set. Q resolutely explains:
“We didn’t allow them to have sex! High levels of motivation were created, these were very young and horny people and there were many of them. It was a really funny process, this was a funny film to make, unlike my other films it was not so serious the process itself.
“The help of comedy was there throughout, having the real Naman around with us all helped a lot, he’s super funny in person.
“Basically we were trying to tap into the same space that the boys were in, and we were trying to be the boys, all of us. Drinking and playing games and being silly, so I think that shows on the screen because we were seriously investing ourselves in that spirit.”
Q is an iconic director, well known for pushing the boundaries. His filmography is varied and he is always looking for new ways to change things up in the film industry:
“I’m working on many things, I will be making another horror film which is a continuation of the film that I made last year called Ludo, we’ll continue with that story, that’s something I’ve been waiting for.
“Also I’ve been writing a lot of film with Naman, we can talk about that later, that will be something very interesting as well. So there’s several projects, there’s also with my company Joint we are now producing partners again.”
Listen to our exclusive Gupshup with Q here:
This film is a breath of fresh air as you rarely see South Asians in a mainstream comedic setting.
Q adds: “It’s a very interesting time for us because I think this whole world is opening up in the most delightful manner. With a the world plunging into chaos all around us it’s a great time for an artist to live.”
Brahman Naman launched on 7 July, exclusively on Netflix.
The film will also be showcasing as part of the London Indian Film Festival, 14 – 24 July 2016.