Young Maradona Rebello had to do some very strange and unconventional things in his debut film Pankh, like getting smooched by a man and go completely nude in front of his screen mother, played by Lilette Dubey.
Confesses Maradona, "It's been a harrowing time for me. I've given the role everything because I believed in the film. It's the story of a pushy mother and a male child who's pushed into the movies dressed as a girl. My character grows up confused about his sexuality. I had to do many things that didn't come naturally to me because I'm a straight guy I had to kiss a man, get pushed around by him."
Worst of all was the cross-dressing scenes.
Shivers Maradona, "When I came on the set in a dress wearing stocking and lipstick my director Sudipto-da freaked out. He was so apologetic. He asked everyone to leave the sets. I told him to chill. But in the nights I just couldn't sleep. I was harrowed. Luckily my parents supported me. They saw the film and loved my performance. My mom didn't flinch even when I stripped in front of my screen-mother."
The character has changed Maradona's life. "I know I'm straight. But playing a guy confused about his sexuality can shake you completely."
The boy can breathe a sigh of relief about his second film Dunno Y ... Jaane Kyun."Here I'm completely straight. In fact I'm straight in Pankh as well. But throughout the film I had to keep trying to prove to the world that I am not gay." At the climax of the film Maradona had to take off all his clothes and show his screen mom Lilette Dubey he's a man.
Explains Maradona, "Right through the film she keeps taunting me that I am no man. Finally in a fit of rage I had to undress and show her that I am a man. It was a very difficult scene to do. Fortunately Lilette Dubey made me very comfortable. Before the scene she hugged me and said it'd be fine. And it was."
Worst was the plight of being kissed by a man. "My co-star Amit Purohit had to kiss me right here at Marine Drive. Luckily it was the night and not too many people were around." Ironically, in his second film Maradona has an affair with his sister-in-law married to his gay brother.
"I can't reveal much about the part. But I got to work with screen divas like Zeenat Aman and Helen. Not bad for my second film."
As for being accepted as a gay role-model after the release of Pankh Maradona says, "Why not? If people of either sex find me attractive I'm fine by it as long as I remain happily heterosexual in real life."