Noida Boys’ debut film deals with the controversial subject of Male Rape

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strings of passion

A still from “Strings of Passion”

MUMBAI, JAN 18- Time seems to have been moving swiftly and in favour of this Noida boy who picked up not one but Two Best Actor Awards for his performance in the recently released “Strings of Passion” directed by Sanghamitra Chaudhuri. The film that has made its rounds at various International Film Festivals and had a pan India release this Friday on January 17, 2014 deals with the controversial subject of Male Rape. A youth centric film revolving around three post grad students – Neel, Manu and Amit who are best friends in college – this is a story of their relationships and also the effect of bad parenting on their lives. While Zeenat Aman plays an overprotective, over caring yet dominant mother to Avalok Nagpal, the other guys are Shubh Mukherjee and Trishaan.

Though his debut,, this theatre personality from the Capital’s SRC, Avalok Nagpal is already making waves and inroads into Bollywood having bagged not one but two Best Actor Awards for his commendable performance. In the film, he is playing Aman Sharma aka Manu, the son of the dominating Roma played by Zeenat Aman whose dreams are nipped in the bud when he is gang raped by the members of the opposition band which loses in the college competition.

Talking about the experience of working with a stalwart like Zeenat Aman in his debut, Avalok opines, “I am making my debut with Zeenat Amanji in this film. I am playing her son who is a soft yet loving and a timid and introvert character Aman alias Manu who is also full of life and zest when he is in love with his girl. A prolific writer and lyricist, he is part of a rock band with his cousin and friends and even wins a trophy in the college competition for the same. But destiny has something else stored for him. And the film takes a different turn altogether when he becomes the victim of Male Rape by the arch rival gang in college.”

Speaking on the issue of Male Rape, Avalok says: “Male rapes are not fiction created in novels and movies. What happens to Manu can happen to anyone at any place. While many believe that males are victims of rapes only in jails, prisons and hostels but statistics reveal that a large number of males become victim of sexual assaults and forced sodomy in much protected areas too. Though the controversial subject of Male Rape or sodomy in jails has been touched upon earlier in one of the films, this is the first time that this subject has been attempted at societal levels.

Talking about his role and whether he had to work hard on the character, Avalok says; “This is the first time that a commercial film is dealing with the issue of Male Rape though in the earlier past it just brushed upon and moved ahead. This film is sure to make the audience sit up and take notice as never has this kind of subject been tackled in our films. That one incident changes Manu’s life completely and unable to come to terms with this ghastly incident, he commits suicide. But as in normal cases where the matter goes unreported, this film will be a path breaker as it shows his dominating mom pursue the case and get the abuser jailed,” adds Avalok.

Though this is his debut role, Avalok Nagpal was a regular on the theatre circuit in Delhi and SRC. A theatre personality, Avalok has done quite a few plays with renowned names in Delhi theatre circuit and was even part of Tom Alter’s theatre group performing with him even in Lahore. However doing this role meant he had to do a lot of homework as his character Aman Sharma urf Manu is not only shy and introvert, but also has a bit of effeminacy. Elaborating on his role, he says, “It is a very good script and all the three leads play very different characters and don’t overlap each other and is crucial to how the story develops. However, playing the role of Manu wasn’t easy but there is something about playing an edgier role. You just have to focus on what you’re playing and do it well. In a way, I also wanted to test my boundaries and thanks to my director and my theatre gurus from whom I learnt the art of acting, I pulled off the role with ease.”

When asked if he is keen to do only issue based subjects and meaningful cinema, Avalok commented that “This was one of the toughest roles so far in my career as an artist. As for future roles, I want to continue exploring and do typical Bollywood commercial too.” On his current projects on the anvil, Avalok states that he did get a few offers in the meanwhile, but didn’t take up as the roles dint offer him much substance. He at present is doing Eon Films latest venture “Kuch Alagsa” that works on the same dynamics as of Bombay Talkies, weaving 5 short films into a feature film. However, unlike Bombay Talkies that only revolves around Mumbai, Kuch Alagsa is set in the four metros of India and the finale in the heart of India (MP). What is fascinating about the whole concept is that 5 directors from across India will be making five 22 minute short films, which is then intertwined to make a feature film. “I am playing a major role in the Mumbai part of the story which is based on the glamour industry and the struggles one has to endure till an artist or a model arrives on the scene.”

Avalok also admits that he is very thrilled that Kuch Alagsa will draw parallels to Bombay Talkies that has one film by his favourite director Anurag Kashyap. “I am a big fan of his and I am really excited that Kuch Alagsa is also on the same lines as Bombay Talkies is. I only hope that someday I get a chance to work in his movies and get to showcase my talent on a global level,” signs off the good looking Punjabi lad Avalok Nagpal.

Winner of 5 Awards at International Film Festivals, Strings of Passion that is directed by Sanghamitra Chaudhuri released on January 17 across India and has Zeenat Aman, Rajesh Sharma, Shubh, Indrani Halder, Avalok Nagpal, Paru Gambhir, Amit Trishaan and Sangita Sonali in pivotal roles.

By- Siddharth Mohan

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