Jayam Ravi: ‘Star-driven culture not going away’

Why actor Jayam Ravi, whose ‘Bhoomi’ is prepared for launch, feels that the star worth of an actor gained’t change regardless of altering enterprise dynamics

Introspection was the order of the day for ‘Jayam’ Ravi in the course of the lockdown final yr. While the movie trade needed to shut fully, Ravi admits to spending most of his downtime re-evaluating a few of the choices he has made in his profession. “It was an excellent time to sit down and take into consideration the errors I had carried out and what I have to do to get higher,” he smiles.

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The actor, whose upcoming movie Bhoomi streams on Disney+ Hotstar from January 14, connects over a Zoom name from Hyderabad, the place he’s filming for a venture. Is it for Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan during which he performs a lead function? “I can’t admit to something,” he laughs, sheepishly.

Since we join only some days after the shoot of Rajinikanth’s Annaatthe, which additionally was underway in Hyderabad earlier than it needed to be ended abruptly as a consequence of a number of circumstances of individuals on the movie set contracting COVID-19, the plain query arises: does he really feel secure going again to work, particularly when imposing a bio-bubble on movie crews have proved cumbersome in India?

“Each different enterprise has opened up with obligatory precautions. We have now to deal with the state of affairs the identical means in movie shoots as nicely. I hope there gained’t be any issues, but when there may be one we’ve got no selection however to discover a strategy to cope… as a result of work has to occur,” Ravi provides. Edited excerpts from an interview:

Bhoomi is certainly one of three main Tamil movies releasing this Pongal. The opposite two are releasing in theatres, so why did you go for an OTT launch?

We did take into consideration a theatrical launch however the reality is we waited for 11 months with a accomplished movie, expectantly ready for theatres to open. It didn’t occur and, as it’s possible you’ll know, safeguarding a completed product is akin to strolling on a knife’s edge. One by no means is aware of when the story shall be leaked or one thing else will occur. So we signed over the movie to Disney+ Hotstar, and instantly after got here the announcement that theatres had been reopening.

Jayam Ravi: ‘Star-driven culture not going away’

You play Bhoominathan within the movie. Inform us about him. What’s he combating for?

Bhoominathan is combating for one thing that’s related in at present’s context — for farmers. It’s not a clichéd story, nevertheless. The movie has addressed the topic with—sincerity; the farmers’ situation is not only one sequence within the bigger story, it’s linked to the entire of the plot.

My character is an astronaut who returns to his hometown after being away for a number of years. He comes again and realises that some issues are incorrect; he makes a number of choices that he thinks will assist society heal in a means.

As an actor, you will have tried to stay apolitical. Can a movie on a topic like farmers’ points be apolitical?

Look, it is a severe topic, however on the identical time, I’m not making a documentary. I’m making a industrial film, so there are some inventive liberties which have been used, which can be the rationale why we’ve got a disclaimer initially of a movie.

Jayam Ravi: ‘Star-driven culture not going away’

Has cinema misplaced its attraction as a medium that may affect its viewers? A couple of many years in the past, cinema was a propaganda instrument for the then-rising Dravidian politics, however as of late, it could seem that the values don’t stick with the viewer…

I nonetheless suppose audiences take again values from a movie. As an example, a movie like Comali the place the lead character is somebody who re-emerges from a coma to search out that society has modified. This was the leisure issue within the movie, so should you discovered the content material entertaining, it signifies that the values additionally mirrored nicely on the viewers. Inevitably then, the viewer will take again the message.

Even with Santhosh Subramaniam, the place the story is about in a household the place the daddy takes all the selections, folks rang me up after watching the movie to inform me that they’d compelled their son or daughter to do that or that, and that they had been going to drop doing it. These are optimistic adjustments.

Jayam Ravi: ‘Star-driven culture not going away’

Many in Tamil cinema have tried to observe the Viswasam method for immediate success. Is Bhoomi the same try?

(Laughs) I keep away from method. I did the primary zombie and area film right here, so I’ve at all times tried one thing that’s not formulaic due to the boldness in my viewers. It wasn’t intentional that Bhoomi has a rural setup or falls in a style that resembles earlier method movies.

That is your third movie with Lakshman. Exterior of your brother (filmmaker Mohan Raja), that is essentially the most you will have collaborated with anybody…

He’s not leaving me (laughs). He solely desires to do movies with me. I don’t know the rationale, possibly he finds it snug. However for me, comfortability solely comes with a successful script. I don’t work with somebody simply because there may be rapport there. The script is a deciding issue [for me].

What adjustments do you anticipate to see in Tamil cinema’s enterprise within the pandemic’s wake?

Budgets will scale back, for positive. It’s at all times greatest to work from a secure zone if you end up at all times not sure of what would possibly occur. It additionally means there shall be restricted crew. However I don’t anticipate the film watching expertise to vary.

Jayam Ravi: ‘Star-driven culture not going away’

OTT platforms had been a giant draw when theatrical enterprise went lacking. Do you anticipate them to develop on the identical stage in 2021 as nicely? Do you see these company entities turning producers in future?

Folks do choose OTT platforms extra as of late. They’ve gotten used to OTT; it is going to proceed to develop and it’s a good factor. Whether or not they flip producers, I feel there have already got been many company firms in movie manufacturing. Reliance involves thoughts. However whoever is subsequent, they might want to do their homework and perceive how the trade features. In addition they have to be dedicated to producing good motion pictures. Solely then can they achieve success.

Do you suppose the star-driven culture will change ought to company entities enter manufacturing?

No. It can by no means be affected. It’s like how again within the day, a movie needed to run 100 days to achieve success and now it solely wants a 10-day run. These days, there have been solely single display theatres and also you had 4 exhibits in a day. Lately, we’ve got multiplexes and 40 exhibits in a day; simply the ratio differs. Likewise, the star worth of an actor gained’t change. Neither will the general public’s curiosity to go to theatres and watch motion pictures.

‘Bhoomi’ streams on Disney+ Hotstar from January 14.

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