INTERVIEW Multi-faceted Revathy is almost ready with the script for her next film
A fter a hiatus, Revathy is back to direction. On the verge of completing the script, she talks about her journey so far, being a woman in the industry, and what drives her. Excerpts.
Close to 30 years in an industry where people often disappear after one film…
I was just lucky to have started during the glorious period of Tamil cinema; a time when films ran for the value of the story and performance. They made good run-of-the-mill films then. And, I was always instinctive — I did not want to do what I did not believe in; did not mouth lines against anyone, women in particular. Also, working under the likes of Bharathiraja, Bharathan and Balu Mahendra gave me a strong foundation.
So, steering to direction was a natural progression.
Yes. And, I was not getting roles that were challenging me as an actor either.
Your directorial venture ‘Mitr, My Friend' had an all-woman crew. Were you making a point?
Yes. Women are intelligent and such good storytellers. But, there weren't many women in the technical arena — cinematography, audiography, editing… It's heartening to see things have improved a lot since. But, being a woman in this industry is particularly tough because there are no timings, and it involves a lot of travelling.
So, with only women around, you get to work better?
Not really. If gender bias is what you're talking about, I can tell you this much — I haven't faced it. Perhaps, it's also because of my upbringing, attitude and being vociferous.
And, is being vociferous also why you are associated with so many social causes?
Well, I was always clear that I wanted to look beyond me and my family.
Being a celebrity clearly helps in this regard…
Of course, I use it to be the voice of many social causes. People listen when a Kamal Hassan or a Manorama or a Revathy talks, better than when a doctor does.
Cinema is perhaps one of the most powerful social media. Does it irk you to see it often being reduced to just a song-dance-stunt routine?
Cinema is primarily an entertainment, a business. I enjoy catching a well-made song sequence or an action flick. But, what irks me is their sending out a wrong message. For instance, the portrayal of politicians or cops. Their defence could be that that's the truth. I agree. All films show good winning over evil — and, that's a message too. But at the same time, it also makes evil seem very fascinating…
Talking of politicians, you contested for the Lok Sabha elections in 1996 as an independent, and lost. You've never ventured into politics again. Is it because of the loss or because you thought politics was not powerful enough?
Because, politics is the most powerful tool for change, and because I realised I was not cut out for it.
You're instinctive. Any regrets on the journey so far?
Well, my life would perhaps been better if I had planned it. But then, I'm happy where I find myself, because I'm constantly driven by change.
I want to tell stories; take direction seriously. I'm almost done with a script. It will be a Hindi film for urban India.
Actor, director, activist, dancer — you have many faces. Who do you identify the most with?
The actor. Because that's why the world knows me today.