As though her association with Salman Khan wasn't reason enough, Iulia Vantur's Bollywood debut is certain to attract eyeballs for another reason too — it sees her play a rape survivor at a time when debate around sexual abuse has taken the nation by storm. Well aware of the sensitivity that attaches itself to the subject, Vantur tells mid-day of her film Radha Kyon Gori Main Kyon Kaala, "My character endures a traumatising experience. Though she has been raped, she doesn't let it impact her life. She seeks justice, doesn't give up, and prevents the painful experience from changing her life. It's about a sexual assault survivor finding the strength to move on."
Having launched the film's poster earlier this week in the company of Khan, her rumoured love interest, Vantur admits she did seek his opinion before giving her nod to the film.
"Salman has a good sense [of selecting the right] script. He has it in his genes. I trust his knowledge and experience. He has been in the industry for 30 years, and I feel grateful to have him guide me. In fact, he was the one who encouraged me to do the movie."
Prem Soni's directorial venture is inspired by a true story, we hear. Even though the Romanian model has made her singing debut in India, she says she's uncertain about her vocals being used in this offering.
"We are still working on the music. It would be ideal if I sang [in this film] as my voice would match that of my character. Probably it will happen. But, we'll have to see," she says, adding that the film's pressing subject served as motivation for her to greenlight the project.
I wanted to be part of a good movie that has a strong social message. And, of course, my director is a positive and kind person. He convinced me to do the movie."
Having always been inclined towards the arts, Vantur reveals that as a child, she took on the roles of presenter and singer, among other creative titles. Even though an acting course did occupy her time when studying law, she says she never thought about pursuing the craft actively. "Acting, singing and presenting are artistic ways of expressing oneself. In Romania, I've acted in a musical play too, even though I was playing myself in it. This film will give me an opportunity to explore myself further."
Back home, Vantur admits that news of her Bollywood shenanigans raises many eyebrows.
"My family is always surprised when I tell them what I'm doing. When I say I am singing, they say, 'What? Really!' Now that I told them about my acting debut, they had the same reaction. But, my family trusts me and wants me to be happy. Everything that I have done in my life has been guided by my heart, so they trust that I would only do something respectable," she says, adding that it was her father who was keen on her pursuing law.While she had initially hoped to take tutorials in learning Hindi, the singer-actor says she's stripped of time, given the film's schedule. "We have less than a month to start shooting, so I don't know if I will have the time to learn as much as I would have liked. But, I am sure Prem will help me."