Guilty actor Gurfateh Pirzada: Not enough education on consent

Updated: 14 March, 2020 08:00 IST | Mohar Basu | Mumbai

A week after the release of Kiara Advani-starrer Guilty, newbie Gurfateh Pirzada on making his debut with the role of rape accused.

Kiara Advani and Gurfateh Pirzada
Kiara Advani and Gurfateh Pirzada

In an industry that is quick to stereotype actors, picking a role with shades of grey for a debut offering wouldn't be considered an ideal choice. But, discussing last week's Netflix release, Guilty, newbie Gurfateh Pirzada says he couldn't have asked for a better launchpad.

"Performances are key in films like this one. People are talking about it. Also, I am interested in scripts that encourage a positive shift in mindsets. It was an ideal start to my career because young people will learn from this," says Pirzada.

Slipping into the role of a college hottie in a film headlined by Kiara Advani, he plays the part of VJ, who thrives on people's attention. "He likes being liked. I needed the audience to fall in love with him. He is a nice guy, but a single night makes evident everything that is wrong with him. Ruchi [Narain, director] didn't want him to feel guilty [about his acts]. I had to showcase him as one who is oblivious to the fact that he has crossed the line. [When] a girl throws herself at him, VJ fails to understand at which point [the intimacy] stops being consensual. [In our society] there isn't enough education on consent. We hope the film [makes evident that] consent is not [based on] perceptions."

In a previous interview, and referring to her last release, Kabir Singh, Advani had apparently suggested that the makers wondered whether giving the protagonist Kabir a happy ending would invite controversy — which it eventually did — owing to his abusive nature. In contrast to that offering, Pirzada's VJ is seen "accepting his punishment". Asserting that actors must "mirror what's happening in society", he says artistes must encourage offerings that bring such conversations to dinner tables.

"The discourse around the #MeToo movement will shift, one film at a time. I hope our movie created the fire needed for this discussion."

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First Published: 14 March, 2020 07:36 IST

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