How an Indian action icon broke into Hollywood — and the Oscar race — with ‘RRR’
An Indian action star broke into the heart of Hollywood with “RRR,” but he didn’t stop there. He got a best picture Oscar nomination and soon, he was back in India.
One of the more controversial movies of the year, “RRR” was an underdog story about a group of young men in India who were accused of rape and murder by a gang of criminals after an 18-year old woman escaped from a brothel and the men tracked her down. The film even made it to Oscar’s list, but none of that mattered to its star, Nargis Fakhri. She starred in the film, but the rest is history.
Fakhri, 27, is a successful model, actress and actress in her own right, but she is best known as “RRR” — which is her name in the film’s credits — and she has been a regular on Indian television for years. Last May, she was arrested on charges of making false statements in a divorce case when her ex-husband, Gautam, accused her of cheating again.
The arrest set off a firestorm of controversy surrounding her, including a police complaint from one of her former directors, whom she says is a friend, alleging physical abuse. It has also stirred a debate over what kind of person she is.
On her website, Fakhri described some of the abuse she said she suffered when she was young. She said she was subjected to constant sexual and verbal harassment in school, and when her father moved from Bombay to the U.K., she was kicked out of her grandmother’s house due to his anger.
She also said her father was verbally abusive and made her stand naked in an Indian heat wave and burn her face.
Still, she didn’t shy away from her role in RRR. “I’m not here to defend anything,” she said in an interview to the BBC at her home in London. “What I am here (to say) is that I was a survivor.”
But the controversy surrounding RRR didn’t even register in Fakhri’s mind, she said. “I didn’t think anything would happen as long