The new film, 376 D, is the first Indian project to address attempted rape on screen from the perspective of a male survivor, says actor Vivek Kumar who plays the victim in the story.
“This is the first-ever film in the history of Indian cinema that deals with an attempted rape case with a male survivor. Made with rigorous research of about two and a half years, the film also questions certain IPC sections whether they are gender-neutral or not,” Vivek said.
On playing the protagonist in the courtroom drama, the “Bhoomi” actor said: “When I read the script of the film ‘376 D’, I realised I have a huge responsibility here as an actor or rather as an artist. Being the protagonist of the film, which attempts to throw light on the aftermath of sexual harassment or rape attempt, I had to empathise with the crisis and trauma that a sexual harassment survivor goes through.”
“As a cis man in heteropatriarchy, I have no idea about the trauma that a sexual crime survivor goes through, although I did sympathise with them and condemned all such violence. But as a primary care-giver to one of my closest female friends, I witnessed the levels of vulnerability, pain and identity-struggle a survivor goes through which was quite altering to my reality. Those of us who fortunately have not experienced sexual harassments for our advantage that comes with our particular gender identity often give in to the common narrative of blaming the survivor or mark their responses ‘overreaction’,” he added.
As an actor, entering that “painful vulnerable violated zone was a challenge that I negotiated with while preparation”, he recalled.
“During shooting my visceral involvement in the scenes evolved my understanding of harassments from the perspective of the survivors,” he added.
The actor feels grateful to have been part of the film as it gave him an “opportunity not only as an actor but to become a more responsible human being”.
“If our film ‘376 D’ creates a community of the audience, aware and united against sexual violence against any gender, that would be the real success of this work,” he said about the film, available on ShemarooMe Box Office.