As many as sixty actresses had refused to do a crucial nude scene in Mr Singh Mrs Mehta before Aruna Shields agreed to the role
Debutante director Pravesh Bhardwaj had a tough time finding the lead girl for his film Mr Singh Mrs Mehta because he wanted the lead girl to pose in the nude for a vital sequence. Apparently around 60 girls rejected the film before Aruna Shields green-lit the project.
Said Pravesh, “The character is called Neera. She is the muse for a nude painting, and that is her turning point. For a girl who is trapped in middle class morality, to reach a point where she not only poses naked in front of a man who is not her husband but also doesn’t care what the world will think when the painting becomes public, it is a tough journey towards self-discovery. Getting actresses to see my viewpoint was difficult.
Every time I narrated the script, I met with very strong reactions. In fact, one actress threw the script at me and walked out.”
Pravesh says the most embarrassing episode was when a particular actress called him a ‘loser’ for writing this ‘kind of film’. A former VJ had actually agreed to do the part but jacked up her price at the last moment because of the nude scene. “We couldn’t afford her,” he shrugged.
Thankfully, Aruna Shields understood how important the scene was to the script. Incidentally, Aruna was last seen with Vivek Oberoi in Prince.