A good love story has the most basic elements. Lots of love, some romance and yes, two people with great chemistry. Now, those two people can be anyone, a man and a woman, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. If you need further proof, just ask Roopa Rao, the director of probably the first same-sex Web series in India — The ‘Other’ Love Story.
“I never realised that it was the first same-sex Web series here. When I came up with the idea it was just a love story between two girls, just like any other normal love story,” says Roopa, who is based out of Bengaluru. The idea, however, she says was something that was inspired by real life. “I have witnessed many same-sex relationships and all their love stories were simple. That was the basic essence behind the story,” she explains.
The story of Aadhya and Anchal is set in the ’90s in Bengaluru, at a time where there wasn’t much information about the LGBT community or even much support.
“Today one can go online and find so much information and groups that support them, but back in the ’90s there was nothing. This story follows how two neighbours meet, feel something and slowly find the courage to work on their feelings.”
Without doubt, Roopa had plenty of challenges. “When I went to producers, they thought it was a porn Web series because it was the love story of two girls. The other challenge was to find actresses who would play the roles. I had auditioned a couple of them but when they went back and told their parents about it they asked the actors to back off,” says Roopa. So she asked for crowd-funding. “We reached our goal of Rs 4 lakh, the rest was pooled in by friends and a producer.
Wasn’t a tough choice
For Shweta Gupta and Spoorthi Gumaste, the choice to work in the series wasn’t something tough. “Yes, it was challenging for both of us because we’re both heterosexuals, and it was difficult to channel the kind of chemistry and emotions for another girl, but we worked on it slowly,” says Shweta Gupta.
Like any love story that progresses with time, the couple here too, follow a trajectory. “We start off with the usual scenes, where we see each other, meet, hold hands and take the romance further,” says Spoorthi.
And yes, there is a kiss too. “Well, it starts off as a peck on the lips and goes on to become something bigger... isn’t that the natural progression of any relationship?”says Roopa.
For Shweta and Spoorthi, the kiss was undoubtedly a challenge. “At first it was a little unnerving, but we shot the scene like we would with any other actor,” says Spoorthi.
While Shweta says, “Roopa engraved it in us that we should stop working at this from the same-sex point of view. She told us to act like it was just a love story and the sex of the person shouldn’t matter to us. When we looked at it that way, it became a lot more easier to shoot.”