After several setbacks, Jyothika starrer Ponmgal Vandhal is finally streamsling on OTT platform, Amazon Prime Video, today. The film helmed by debutant JJ Fredrick was to hit theatres on March 27 but was postponed due to Coronavirus outbreak, which has caused the temporary shutting down of theatres.
Speaking about her experience in the film, Jyothika said, “I would call this a socially responsible film. Since it’s got its share of thriller elements, I can’t reveal what we’re dealing with. Working with five directors in the film has been an unforgettable experience for me. While previously I got the chance to work with Revathi ma’am and Urvashi ma’am, now I got the chance with Parthiepan sir and Bhagyaraj sir. I have learnt a lot from these wonderful people right from the preparation required for a role to how they perfectly deliver long dialogues.”
She added, “I have about 3-4 lengthy dialogues in this film, for which Fredrick gave me a lot of time. I have done a lot of pre-work only for this film when compared to the rest of my films because the story is very close to my heart. On hearing the script, I decided to do the film without a second thought.”
Jyothika who plays lawyer Venba in the film feels that content-oriented films cannot weave in commercial elements and cheat audiences. “I’m not playing a high court or supreme court lawyer, but a small lawyer serving at a court at Ooty. I felt very strong when I adorned the lawyer coat for the first time. Films like these cannot use stunt sequences to impress audiences. It requires strong dialogues from strong characters,” said Jyothika who added, “While Rajsekar Karpoorasundarapandian, who is a lawyer, helped me out with the role, I also watched a lot of films to prepare myself. I have spoken about how the common man looks up at lawyers in the film. That will definitely be the film’s highlight.”
Jyothika has dubbed for herself in the film. She reportedly got hold of the script book three months before the shoot commenced and practiced her dialogues to perfect them. “Nobody considers me a North Indian. They write the dialogues as they are and hand them over to me. Bhagyaraj and Parthiepan can speak their dialogues by just glancing at the lines once. But it was quite a process for me. I got hold of the script about three months before we commenced shoot. I couldn’t have come to the sets, learnt, and spoken my dialogues instantly.”
Jyothika, who turned 41 last October, says she feels like a hero at this age and finds it strange. She wants to take up films that are solid and worth her time regardless of whether they fail or score well at the box office. “I am picking films which I believe will be spoken about even 20 years later. Some score well, some fail. But I will follow this path virtuously. A lot of solid stories are coming my way and I have selected about three of them which I will be announcing soon. I believe that when women watch my films, they should feel proud.”
She adds, “We need to make films highlighting scenarios around us. A lot of fans will watch our films, so it is necessary to take up those with the social responsibility factor. I have come out of the commercial film phase and I’m finally doing what I want to do with all freedom. You can find me only in homely roles hereafter because I want to take up roles that portray me just as I am in real life. I feel women in films should be as strong as they are in real life. Honestly, I didn’t ask directors for such films. They just happened to come my way.”
Speaking about commercial films, she said, “In my opinion, commercial films demand songs and romantic sequences and cannot accommodate unique storylines. Such films haven’t knocked on my door, but even if they do, I will not be taking them up. Being a mother of two children, I cannot afford to leave my kids at home and dance around with heroes. I have to be even more responsible than before. Instead of just advicing them on how to be, I must show them how I am through my films.”
The film has been bankrolled by the actor and Suriya’s home production 2D Entertainment and co-produced by Rajsekar Karpoorasundarapandian. “It was comfortable working with our home production 2D entertainment. I had to attend shoot every day while also managing things at home, so 2D was the best for me. I finished shoot at 6 and got back home immediately,” said Jyothika.
She added, “We don’t know to what extent people will be willing to spend time and money on certain films. So we decided to bankroll the project with our own money. After 36 Vayadhinile, a lot of women-centric films were made, but only a few production houses were willing to commission them.”
The debate between releasing films on OTT and cinema halls sparked off after the makers of Ponmagal Vandhal announced that their film will hit Amazon Prime Video directly. It created a stir amongst industry stakeholders and led to several issues.
Read the entire sequence of events here.
In response to this, Jyothika says that OTT platforms are the future of cinema and that it will push cinema to the next level. “A lot of people have now become aware of OTT platforms. For the past three months, people have been watching films from their homes through the medium. We’re not denying that people from all sections of society will get to witness the film if released in theatres. But the coronavirus pandemic is the sole reason for the film hitting the OTT platform. The situation has pushed us to take this decision.”
She added, “My film will now reach a wider audience and not be constrained to my fans alone. I’m not saying that my films will release only on OTT hereafter. Once theatres reopen, people are going to watch films there. For now, I feel like this is the best solution. Once the global threat comes down to an extent, a list of big-budget films are waiting to hit screens. How do we release our film in such a situation? It might even take up to two years for us to find the right time. To avoid this problem, we opted for an OTT release.”
She signed off by thanking her husband actor Suriya and the press for their support. She also requested fans and audiences to stay at home until the situation improves and thanked the frontliners and medical workers for their unparalleled contribution.
Ponmagal Vandhal is Jyothika’s 49th film. The thriller film also features Thiyagarajan, K Bhagyaraj, R Parthiepan, Pandiyarajan, and Prathap Pothen in important roles. Govind Vasantha is the music director, Ramji is on camera, Ruben on the edit, and Amaran has helmed art. Poornima has handled costumes for the film.
Watch the trailer of the film here: