Ponmagal Vandhal created quite a buzz when its makers decided to skip the theatrical route and release directly on an OTT platform. And their gamble seems to have paid off very well. The Jyotika-starrer premiered on Amazon Prime Video, on May 29, and according to cast members, in the first three days, the movie was watched by 25 million accounts worldwide.
“This is the future,” exclaimed senior filmmaker-writer Prathap Pothen, who has played a key role in the film.
In a quick chat with indianexpress.com, Ponmagal Vandhal director JJ Fredrick and its star cast Prathap Pothen, R Parthiban and Subbu Panchu discuss the social impact of movies.
Excerpts from the conversation.
As veteran filmmakers, what kind of caution and sensitivity you think should directors exercise while portraying sexual violence, especially against children, in movies?
JJ Fredrick: It is very important. If we are not careful, it will backfire. I think we have done (Ponmagal Vandhal) with that in mind.
Prathap Pothen: It is the guy’s (Fredrick’s) first film. This movie is about young children being raped and things like that. That itself is a bad topic and he was very restrained. He never showed anything like that. And he was able to get to the greater problem, which we read every day in newspapers. He has brought to notice that this kind of thing is happening.
R. Parthiban: I think only films can create a great impact. For example, take an incident that recently happened in Kerala. A pregnant elephant was fed a fruit-laden with firecrackers. That elephant died standing in a river. Just that one picture/video created such a huge impact. It created awareness about the wrong things we do. I believe we can’t create something as impactful as films. We should make at least 100 movies like Ponmagal Vandhal. Only then we can eradicate the violence in this society to some extent.
Prathap Pothan: What you said is correct sir.
Can you each name one thing about the current generation of filmmakers you envy about?
Subbu Panchu: Today’s filmmakers have a digital camera. I think they might feel envy that they did not have that technology available at the time.
Prathap Pothan: We couldn’t see what we shot then.
R. Parthiban: Correct. Then, we did not have a monitor, so we were not able to see what we shot. We were just given a 400-feet film to shoot an entire scene. The filmmakers of today don’t have such problems. But, these days, unlike then, finding opportunities is a struggle. What I appreciate about Fredrick is what he has done with the first opportunity he got. He used it to create such an impact and tried his level best. I congratulate him for taking such a good theme.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines