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Film-making for a cause

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The urge to connect to the common man initiated her into the medium of film-making. Actor-cum-director Revathy talks to Madhur Tankha about her favourite directorial projects and new ventures

For actor-cum-director Revathy, film-making in Bollywood and South India is almost the same, except the language of communication.

Here in the Capital this past week to inaugurate a ten-day retrospective of her films, Revathy said her keenness to reach out to the common man made her take up direction. “While acting was purely co-incidental, direction was something I had planned. Actually I wanted to become a trained classical dancer but life had other things in store for me. It has been an unexpected journey in the film industry. There have been highs and lows. I need to introspect on what I have done.”

Shedding light on her upcoming projects, Revathy says she is directing a Malyalam film in which ten directors will present ten divergent short stories linked to one another. “It is a film based on travel and the linking part won’t be easy. Then there is a Bollywood film ‘Mumbai Crossing’ in which Sudhir Mishra, Anurag Kashyap and seven other directors along with me are making ten stories. In this film, the stories are not linked to each other. The two films are completely different in plot.”

From Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film “Mouna Raagam” to Ram Gopal Varma’s “Nishabd”, Revathy has come a long way. She has also acted in Malayalam, and Telugu films. In the film “Dhoop” based on the life of Captain Anuj Nayyar of the 17 Jat Regiment who was killed during the Kargil war in 1999, Revathy played the role of a grieving mother who cannot reconcile to the fact that son has been killed in the war. “Ashwani Chaudhary who directed this film did the research work. I met Anuj’s parents but it was just a casual meeting. We did not want to imitate their lives, just wanted to depict what they went through. I usually go by the research of the director and discuss the role with him.”

Revathy’s role as the better half of Amitabh Bachchan in the bold film “Nishabd” may not have done well at the box-office, but the actor isn’t complaining. “The subject was quiet current. I liked the script, the character and the film but cannot explain why it didn’t work. It is the audience which decides the fate of a movie, not the critics who merely give their opinions. A similar subject was taken up in ‘Cheenikum’ that was more entertaining. In both the films Amitabh did a wonderful job.”

On her much talked about directorial venture “Phir Milenge”, Revathy says the idea of giving a glimpse into the lives of HIV positive people was a joint decision by her and Percept Picture Company. “I took Salman Khan to play the role of a HIV positive person. Luckily I had acted with him in my first Hindi film ‘Love’ that was made 20 years ago. It was just a coincidence that one day Salman was talking to me and I casually mentioned to him about the subject of my film. I didn’t expect him to give a nod but he trusted me to do justice with the job. He is one actor who makes a decision from his heart. Even Shilpa Shetty immediately agreed.”

Revathy says she made the film to make people understand what people with the deadly virus go through in their daily lives. “I don’t know if the film was able to clear misconception regarding HIV positive patients.”

She says she chose to make “Mitr—My Friend ” in English as the film was about an NRI and she wanted to show the generation gap. “In ‘Phir Milenge’ I chose Hindi because the aim was to send the message across the country.”

Pointing out that this was her first ever retrospective in the country, Revathy says she was excited about it. “I am really honoured that a retrospective of my films in Hindi and other Southern languages is being held in the Capital. I received a call from Aruna Vasudev and from the IHC about the retrospective. So I named my favourite films. Sadly most of my films that were made 15 years ago haven’t been sub-titled. Films made by other directors will also be screened. A film festival helps film-makers who don’t get a commercial release to showcase their product.”

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