Jyotika is an award-winning Indian actor who has acted in some Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi films.
However, her prominence in Tamil films has been incredibly rewarding and of course, this transition has catapulted her to vast popularity.
She, as an artist, has always openly explored dynamic and multi-shaded roles – be it a dissociative identity disorder patient in Chandramukhi to an antagonist in Pachaikili Muthucharam.
Her latest starrer and co-production PonMagal Vandhal recently released on Amazon Prime Video.
In a film which is a maze of falsehood and loopholes, she plays a lawyer who tries to prove that an alleged serial killer is not guilty of the crime.
Jyotika joins Filme Shilmy to discuss more on the film and stepping into the shoes of her character – Venba.
Many of 2D Entertainment’s films have been cutting-edge and dynamic in comparison to ‘mainstream’ works. What were your ideologies behind PonMagal Vandhal?
2D is open to any good content. That’s the reason for us starting 2D, which is named after my two children (Diya and Dev).
We want to do small, content-oriented films. For us, it’s the script and story that does the talking.
I’ve been reading about the topic of child rape and abduction for two years now.
So, when the script of PonMagal Vandhal came from someone new, a very young person who is very talented and shows immense promise, we simply felt that the film had to be made.
In what way does the pressure increase when a film is under a home production?
At my home production, I get to choose the kind of stories that I want to tell the world.
But my responsibility is towards doing justice to the script and the idea behind it.
The constant aim with 2D Entertainment is to ensure we deliver meaningful stories to the audience and leave them with ample food for thought.
The film tackles the subject of rape and child abuse. What conversations do you hope will start with this?
I am a mother, and I want my kids to watch the films I act in and be proud of what I do.
I want to be an example for them in doing what I do rather than being a parent who just keeps on advising their kids.
I feel it’s good to show something which is real on the screen so that people can connect to it and do what is right.
Through this film, I want to reach out to women and urge them to speak up and voice their opinion towards the justice that has been often denied to them.
Your character is one which we have to expect the unexpected. How emotionally and mentally tough was it to prepare for it?
It was emotionally draining.
But knowing that we are creating something that will play a telling role towards spreading the message for justice was surely encouraging and exciting.
How (if at all) do you think the reaction would’ve been different had the film released theatrically?
Nothing can replace the joy that an actor or a filmmaker gets when people cheer for the film in theatres.
That was something we missed. But I am not disappointed that we did not get a theatrical release.
We put in three times the effort towards making such films as it’s completely script-oriented.
It’s a matter for pride for Tamil cinema, especially for small, content-rich films which generally have to wait months and even years to find a theatrical release.
At the end of the day, it makes me feel like a hero that my film will be released in over 200 countries thanks to Amazon Prime Video.
We are going global and I hope to earn a new set of audiences who would have thoroughly enjoyed what they’ve just seen.
You’ve never shied away from essaying characters of various shades. What attracts you to a script?
I want to work on stories that my children can watch and be proud of.
There are very interesting scripts that highlight a new shade of the tenacious women of our country.
As an actor, I would like to be part of such films and bring these stories out to my viewers.
It gives me a lot of joy to present stories that not just entertain but also educates our masses.
Your filmy career began with Hindi films, which didn’t transpire as expected. Did you ever expect to mark such a presence in South-Indian cinema through your craft?
No, I did not. I am grateful to my fans and all the producers, directors and my co-actors for all the support I received from them throughout these years.
Indian regional movies – especially South Indian ones – are becoming very popular. To what extent do you think OTT platforms like Amazon Prime contribute towards this?
I feel OTT platforms are a great choice for small films, content-based films, and women-centric films.
Ours was the first Tamil film to have a worldwide premiere on an OTT platform instead of a theatre.
We got 20 million views on the film’s trailer and we were also the most-watched Tamil film on Amazon Prime Video.
None of my previous films ever got that kind of reach. It feels great.
While theatres will always be a great community experience, any film made with a soul gets its rightful due to these platforms.
Nowadays, there also seems to be a prominent crossovers between regional and mainstream cinema. Why do you think it’s picked up more recently?
I don’t think this is a recent phenomenon.
Veterans like Rajinikanth sir and Kamal Haasan are equally popular in the South as well as in Bollywood.
The audiences for these films are everywhere. We can no longer restrict them to one particular region.
People want to see more interesting and engaging content which isn’t bound within any language barrier.
PonMagal Vandhal is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.