Navarasa, Mani Ratnam’s upcoming Tamil anthology based on the nine ‘rasas’ or human emotions will release on Netflix on August 6. Riythvika, Sreeram and Geetha Kailasam, who are leading the cast of the segment directed by Arvind Swami, Roudhram (Anger), in Navarasa spoke to Silverscreen India about how the emotion takes on different shades in different situations in the film.
“Anger is a double-edged sword. It can be used for both good and bad,” said Sreeram. “Depending on the situation and when the anger comes out, it can be a good thing and a bad thing,” he added.
In Roudhram, Swami’s directorial debut, Sreeram plays the role of an ‘angry young man’. “When we are 17 or 18, while we are still creating our own individual identity and interacting more with the society around us, this is usually the point in our lives where we have a lot of anger spilling out. My character is at that phase in his life where all the anger is slowly transforming into maturity.”
Geetha Kailasam, who made her Tamil cinema acting debut with Sarpatta Parambarai, plays the role of a mother in Roudhram. “A mother goes through all emotions, and a lot of it is anger. There are four or five characters in the story. The anger inside each one of us comes out at some point in the film. Each one of us feels angry at different moments for different things.”
“For my character, the film explores why she is angry and what happened to her in the past to make her this way,” ” said Riythvika. “Roudhram shows that not all people who are angry are bad. Only when you sit down with someone and talk to them will you understand what happened to them, why they behave the way they do, whether something happened in their life or if there is something about to happen in the future that is making them angry.”
Proceeds from Navarasa, presented by filmmakers Mani Ratnam and Jayendra Panchapakesan, will go towards the well-being of workers in the Tamil film industry who have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The nine emotions Navarasa is based on are — anger, compassion, courage, disgust, fear, laughter, love, peace and wonder.
Right from audition calls to acting workshops, a lot of the pre-production work for the film was done through online video calls, the actors said.
“I understood that no matter what the roadblocks, it is possible to make a film if we adapt ourselves to the situation. We used Zoom calls for auditions, script-reading sessions and workshops — this was when we were unsure of when things would open up again so we could start meeting in person. It may look the same for the audience, but behind the scenes, it was very different for us actors during the pandemic,” Riythvika said.
Sreeram pointed out that a lot of sequences in Roudhram were shot in public places. It was not easy, Geetha added.
“Actors cannot wear masks while they are working. It was definitely difficult, but I’m very happy that even in such a situation, we were able to do a project of this scale,” she said.
Navarasa also stars Vijay Sethupathi, Prakash Raj, Revathi, Suriya, Prayaga Rose Martin, Siddharth, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Yogi Babu, Ramya Nambeesan, Nedumudi Venu, Arvind Swami, Prasanna, Aditi Balan, Bobby Simha and Gautham Vasudev Menon, among others.