Fair & Lovely is the latest installment in the genre of films about a prostitute with a heart of gold into whose life the hero arrives and how he tries to save her from her troubles.
Prem, the hero of the film, tries to move away from his usual lover boy image with this role. "This character in Fair & Lovely sees me as a young man who also has a deep maturity and how he brings positivity and a ray of hope into a depressed person's life," he says.
There is always something charming about the men who play a role in films about prostitutes as they end up playing very sensitive characters who go against society's norms to fight for the downtrodden women who are forced to become sex workers. How important is Lovely (Prem) in the Fair's (Shweta Srivatsav's) life? "I don't know if such a role is pleasing or not, but what I can say is that film will see the positive side of me. I can't reveal how my character brings the ray of hope in a woman's life, as that reveals the whole story. But, there is a situation in the film when a sex worker thinks whether she needs to come out or not from her profession and that reveals the negative and positive side of the whole film," he explains.
Interestingly the makers of Fair & Lovely had only Prem in mind. Initially they had planned for a bridge cinema but the concept was changed when they approached the actor.
"Being a commercial hero, I was in two minds to take up this film. I didn't know if my fans would accept me in a bridge cinema. Since I had liked the subject, I discussed it with them and was clear that I would be a part of the project, if there were commercial elements involved in it and if it was a hero-oriented subject. They agreed and I was in."
The actor is happy with the outcome and says that after this film, he believes he will see an increase in his female fans. "Fair & Lovely is a gift to my audience for this Diwali," he says.
Prem has heard a lot of stories about sex workers and in his opinion Fair & Lovely is somewhat close to such incidents. When asked how he personally reacted to stories or incidents that were concerned with sex workers, he said, "Nobody becomes a prostitute out of fashion or just to show off. So many women are forced to get into this line because of their livelihood. And they are women who get into this profession when they are betrayed by men and don't know how to lead their life any better. They come to a situation where they don't have the guts to commit suicide nor any hope. Such people are not allowed to lead normal lives," he says.
Prem is confident that Fair & Lovely and other films of this kind will leave an impact on the audience. "They will at least understand the life of sex workers and start respecting them," he says.
Although Prem did not wish comment on whether prostitution should be legalised, he said that a prostitute could be a social responsible person in the society. "Women can avoid getting into this profession as there are definitely other options for them which they should explore before jumping into something like prostitution," Prem concludes.