Busan: Aparna Sen's hard-hitting social drama, 'The Rapist', was declared the joint winner of the Kim Jiseok Award at the 26th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), which concluded here on Friday. The film, starring Konkona Sen Sharma, had been premiered at the festival's 'A Window on Asian Cinema' section on October 7.
In The Rapist, Konkona Sen Sharma plays a criminal psychology professor in Delhi, who is sexually assault, and proceeds to fight the societal prejudices against the topic. It also stars Arjun Rampal and Tanmay Dhanania in lead roles. Arjun Rampal plays the role of a liberal. The film follows the three protagonists and how their lives get entwined because of the horrific incident.
Sen had the idea for "The Rapist" some 15 years ago, and decided to revisit the subject after the recent spate of rape incidents in India. "I began to wonder about why men rape. No one is born a rapist. They go through infancy, through the toddler stage and through boyhood in all innocence," Sen tells Variety. "When and how do these persons then become rapists? Does social inequality have anything to do with it? Or is it just genetic? I didn't have an answer then and I don't have one now. But I wanted to explore the idea nonetheless. And so I made 'The Rapist'."
'The Rapist', whose highlight is a standout performance by Konkona, is "a deeply affecting portrait of personal trauma and an intelligent examination of social and cultural factors fueling the horrifying prevalence of sexual violence in India," according to Variety.com.
The film, incidentally, has been produced by Sameer Nair for Applause Entertainment, which had earlier been behind the critically acclaimed web series, 'Scam 1992'. The rapist in the film is played by Tanmay Dhanania.
'The Rapist' shared the award with Filipino filmmaker Brilliante Mendoza's boxing drama, 'Gensan Punch'. The winners in the 'New Currents Section' were the Chinese film 'Farewell, My Home Town' (director Wang Er Zhuo) and the South Korean feature 'The Apartment With Two Women' (director Kim Se-in).