The film Murder (2004) is credited to have made erotica mainstream in Bollywood. But 10 months before the release of this film, Khwahish (2003) arrived in cinemas and surprised people with its content. It starred Himanshu Malik in the lead and is said to be the debut film of Mallika Sherawat. As Khwahish completed 20 years on June 6, Bollywood Hungama exclusively spoke to Himanshu Malik about working on this film and a lot more.
20 Years of Khwahish EXCLUSIVE: “Mallika Sherawat wasn’t fun to work with. She needed more and more rehearsals and more and more takes. As a co-actor, it became extremely EXHAUSTING” – Himanshu Malik
How did you bag the film?
The director, Govind Menon, was an old friend. This was the time when I had just worked in Tum Bin (2001), a year before. It had done really well. The makers of Khwahish were looking to do a fresh film and they had a good script in hand. My current producer, Akbar Arabiyan, was also the producer of Khwahish. That’s how I know him.
It was a passion project. We were all very driven. Govind had just done his filmmaking course in the USA. He had some fresh, interesting ideas. Khwahish was ahead of its time in certain ways. It showed how youth engage with relationships and that’s why it created a flutter.
Khwahish was one of the first films or maybe the first film that showed a character hesitating to buy a condom. 20 years have passed but this aspect is shown in films even today. The recent release Jogira Sara Ra Ra (2023) also had a similar scene…
Yes. The characters in the film discussed sex openly. This happens in every relationship but it was never shown on celluloid before. It was an era of Yash Raj and Karan Johar films. Everything then was soaked in buttery, sugary syrup. That is what stood out in Khwahish and we got noticed and remembered.
The belief that it had 17 kisses in the film must have also helped in generating awareness and hype…
It was quite unprecedented. Now they show much more. But at that time, we were petrified that due to the kisses, the Censor Board might refuse certification. There was a lot of anxiety among us. At that time, if a hero and heroine would kiss, the makers would cut to birds flying or flowers dashing. A Yash Raj or Karan Johar film had not shown a kiss till then. It was very brave of the makers to go for it.
But were there as many as 17 kisses in the film? I happen to count and I feel the number of kisses was lesser…
I don’t know who came up with the idea. I guess 17 kisses toh nahin the. Some journalist had mentioned it. The connotation became that it had a lot of kisses. Then all the idiotic discussions began that whether a peck on the lips is a kiss or a forehead kiss is also counted as a kiss! Nevertheless, the word spread that the film has such content.
Did the Censors cut any scene?
No. We went through the process smoothly. They didn’t ask for a cut and got an ‘A’ certificate.
How was it to work with Mallika Sherawat?
She wasn’t fun to work with. It was her first major film. She was extremely anxious. It was a slow process. She needed more and more rehearsals and more and more takes. As a co-actor, it became extremely exhausting. You want your best take to be there and you also want your co-actor to do the same. It’s a team effort. When I did Khwaish, I was two-films-old. I knew the process and the pressures of being on a film set. Also at that time, we used to shoot on film. Each rejected take meant money wasted.
More Pages: Khwahish Box Office Collection , Khwahish Movie Review
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