‘Call it your inner demons’: Revathy on Bhoothakaalam


Revathy | Photo Credit: VIBHU H

A nail-biting psychological Malayalam drama revolving around a mother and son, with elements of horror and the supernatural,  Bhoothakaalam, has bagged actor-director Revathy her first Kerala State Film Award for the best actress. This comes in at a time when Revathy is engrossed in post production work on her new directorial venture in Hindi,  Salaam Venki, which is inspired by a real-life incident. The award comes 38 years after Revathy made a memorable debut in the Malayalam film industry with Bharathan’s  Kattathe Kilikkoodu (1983), a little late according to critics and fans.

It takes many calls to connect with Revathy; but when I do get through to her she takes time out to talk about her work, and her desire to make the film industry a safe place for youngsters. Reacting to the award she says, “I am happy, definitely an award is a recognition of one’s work.”

A still from Bhoothakaalam.

A still from Bhoothakaalam. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Brushing aside remarks that the award was late in coming, the national award-winning actor-director points out that having been part of many jury panels, she is aware that an award depends on the perception of the jury. Revathy says she accepted the role of Asha in  Bhoothakaalam because it challenged her as an actor. “I had to portray the inner turmoil of Asha. The character was layered and pertinent to society today. The film talks about loss, loneliness, financial setbacks and the stress of having no one to talk to. It was not only about a mother and a son, it was also about a man and a woman.”

Unsaid words

“Visually, it is a film that deals with the supernatural but, for me, it is about the demons that are there within us. Rahul (Sadasivan, the director) told me when you are mentally weak, other forces take over. It is a poignant statement and it is so true. Call it ghosts or the supernatural or call it your inner demons.”

The director, she believes, was able to create that space of silence, which was nonetheless filled with unsaid words and emotional turbulence.

Having worked on both sides of the camera, Revathy understands the roles of director and actor. The director of films such as  Mitr, My Friend and  Phir Milenge, says she does not have the courage to direct a Malayalam film as she does not read or write the language. “The script is the soul of a film. Hindi and Tamil are two languages in which I can direct a film. Malayalam is fine as far as acting goes, but not as a director right now.”

Revathy is happy that youngsters do not keep quiet if injustice is done to them. So should the Justice K. Hema Commission report be made public? Although the Commission submitted its report in December 2019, its findings have not been shared with the public or the stakeholders in the film industry. Says Revathy: “The Commission was set up to study the working conditions in the film industry and make things better and also to understand the issue of sexual harassment. Unless it is discussed, at least among film bodies, how will it be effective?”

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Printable version | Jun 10, 2022 6:43:09 pm |