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Rape doesn’t define India: Romania-born singer-actress Iulia Vantur

At a press conference in Mumbai on Monday (15 October), Vantur spoke of her journey to India and her experience of the culture and people here.

Photo: Shutterbugs images

Mayur Lookhar

Romanian singer Iulia Vantur has been living in India for the last five-six years and is rumoured to be the girlfriend of actor-producer Salman Khan. After making a special appearance in O Teri (2014) and lending her voice to songs for films like Genius (2018) and Race 3 (2018), Vantur is set to make her debut as a lead actress with director Prem Soni’s film Radha Kyon Gori Main Kyon Kaala.   

Vantur will play Julia, a Polish tourist, who is a Krishna devotee since her childhood. Her visit to India turns into a nightmare when she is raped here. Though traumatized, Julia overcomes the bitter incident to find her motto in life.

At a press conference in Mumbai on Monday (15 October), Vantur spoke of her journey to India and her experience of the culture and people here.

It must be recalled that Vantur came to India when the country was boiling over the brutal gang-rape of a medical student in a bus in Delhi, popularly known as the Nirbhaya rape case. The subsequent nationwide outcry shook the Indian polity  and the world, too, turned its attention to the happenings in India. The country, that was once known for 'non-violence', was now labeled as the 'rape capital of the world' and its image as a safe tourist destination was being questioned.

Vantur came to India in this environment. Was there ever any apprehension before she came to Indian?

“The love for India, Indian culture is much bigger than these cases,” said Vantur, adding, “There is much more to India than this. Rape doesn’t define a nation. We don’t have to be scared of it. We have to fight it. We have to take action against it.”

The Romanian singer said that such incidents naturally change one's life completely, but if one has family support, then she/he can overcome such tragic incidents.

Before arriving in India, Vantur was aware of the lack of women's safety here, but this didn’t deter her from making the journey. "India has so much to offer. The people here are so kind, so passionate. I believe they can do anything,” she said.

Vantur recalled how she came to Indian without any aspirations. “I didn’t come to India to act or to sing. I had my own career in Romania. I was doing very well for myself. Sometimes life takes you places. It makes you meet some special people. Your life changes, your priorities change, it takes you onto a different path. I’m open to all change, surprises, things that make you grow in life," Vantur said.

When asked how easy or difficult it was to agree to do a character like Julia, Vantur replied, “Honestly, I was surprised when Premi Soni and Prernaa Arora came with this film. I didn’t know how to react. But when I heard the script, it had a strong message.

"Things happen for a reason. I could connect with the subject, the character. Julia is also in love with the Indian culture. She is a strong girl, who never gives up. I’m like that too. I’m proud to be part of a film that speaks about such an important issue that is facing the country.”

Vantur has a good reason to connect with Julia, for like her character, she, too, got to experience the Indian culture on her first visit to the country. Her experience from the first visit has helped her in prepping for this role.

“I’m familiar with some of the stories from the [Hindu] mythology. I’m reading every single word from there. I have visited more temples. During, my first visit, I had traveled to Hrishikesh [in Uttarakhand]. I went to a lot of temples, spent time at ashrams. All that has helped me understand this character. The love and devotion she has for divinity. I really liked that very much. I’m in love with this character. It is a life-transforming journey,” she said.

The poster, that was launched last evening, features Vantur dressed like a jogan, lost in devotion. The background has Bhagavad Gita shlokas translated in Hindi. They go well with the bitter experience that Vantur's character is subjected to in the film.

The poster informs that the film is based on true incidents. The key incident is said to be of the rape of a foreign national in Mathura in 2017.

Radha Kyon Gori Main Kyon Kaala is set to go on floors in November. Produced by Five Elements Studio, the film is likely to be released in the summer of 2019.