There's trouble ahead for the much talked-about real-life drama No One Killed Jessica. Rani Mukherjee's character of an intrepid investigative journalist chain smokes and mouths gaalis non-stop. In the trailer, Rani's shocking use of the term 'g..nd phat jaati' has been managed with a beep. But if the film's makers get down to deleting every expletive Rani's character utters, there would be huge gaps in her dialogue.
According to sources, Rani's character's flow of profanities is so non-stop that if the censor board decided to beep her gaalis, Rani's dialogue soundtrack would have more beeps than words.
Laughs and protests director Rajkumar Gupta, "It' not that bad, really. You are making it sound like a non-stop abuse binge. My film is not that. But yes, Rani's character is very brutal and graphic in her speech. I don't know if, as you say. Rani is the same way in real life. I didn't know her before I shot with her. But she was thoroughly professional in mouthing squirmy words."
While in real life Rani Mukherjee is very comfortable using the 'F' word and 'G' word in English and Hindi, her co-star Vidya Balan in No One Killed Jessica is not quite the type who will mouth maa-bahen galis at the drop of an oath, no matter what the provocation. Not that Vidya is a prude. But she does mind her language. Rani is just the opposite and it shows on screen.
Now the question looming over No One Killed Jessica is, would the censor board allow Rani's character to speak her mind so graphically? The censors are known to clamp down heavily on lurid language unless it is in a Vishal Bhardwaj film. Paradoxically, Vishal's rustic characters are allowed to mouth maa-bahen gaalis. Jessica producers - UTV who co-produced Bharadwaj's Kaminey are hoping that the same language in an urban context is permissible.
Says Rajkumar Gupta, "We voluntarily beeped out Rani's expletive in the trailer because it was to be screened on the home-viewing medium. But now when we submit the film for censorship, we will go with the entire language content intact hoping the censor board would see the context and not just the hard-hitting nature of the language."
While Rani Mukherjee is said to be gung-ho about the language, Vidya Balan is apparently dreading how the dialogues would sound in a pindrop-silent theatre with dolby sound. Says the director, "Let's just say, both Rani and Vidya said what they had to. They were thorough professionals."
Another area of discomfort for this controversial film would be the legal ramifications of showing real-life people, particularly the hostile witnesses in the real-life Jessica Lal murder case. Apparently, some of the key witnesses are already inquiring about the content and getting ready for legal action.
Says Rajkumar Gupta, "We're ready for any eventuality. I made the film the way I wanted to as a mix of realism and cinematic entertainment. No One Killed Jessica is not a documentary on the Jessica Lal case. But it is about her sister's fight for justice. And if the real-life characters recognize themselves they are welcome to react how they want."
Or else Rani will let loose a volley of the choicest.
Laughs Gupta, "We are hoping for a U/A (parental guidance) certificate. But even if we get an Adults certificate we're okay with it."