Portrayal of women as unintelligent in commercial films made me very upset: Ponmagal Vandhal actress Jyotika

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Due to Coronavirus pandemic, theatres all over the county are closed due to which makers of upcoming films are looking for a Direct to OTT release. South actress Jyotika's courtroom drama Ponmagal Vandhal is the first major Tamil film to get an online release. It will start streaming on Amazon Prime Video from May 29. 

In an interaction with an online portal via video conferencing, Jyotika said that a theatrical release is a ‘celebration’ for actors but a direct-to-digital release will work in favour of a small-budget film like Ponmagal Vandhal. “We like to have our audience next to us -- clapping, applauding and whistling. But in these times, it is only fair that producers get the opportunity to get small films out because once we overcome the Covid-19 situation, it will only be the big films that will be lined up for release. I don’t see a film like Ponmagal Vanthal hitting the theatres for a year-and-a-half,” she said.

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After marrying Tamil superstar Suriya, Jyotika took a sabbatical from films for a few years, before making a smashing return with 36 Vayadhinile. In her second innings as an actor, she has consciously picked roles that her children Diya and Dev would be ‘proud of’. Jyotika said that back in the day, the portrayal of women in Tamil cinema left her ‘very upset’. “There was a phase in Tamil Nadu, when there were just one or two women-centric films. Whenever I went to the theatre as a woman, I came back feeling very upset with the way they were portrayed. This was around 2000-2006. Every time I went to the theatre, I saw how unintelligent the woman was shown as, especially in large, commercial films made for a larger audience. It raised a lot of questions in my mind,” she said. On her part, Jyotika made a firm decision to not take up any role that she did not agree with. “I don’t want to name them but I turned down many films because the role was not respectable. It was never about the length of the role but I didn’t find it respectable enough,” she said.

Women-centric films are finally being made and watched in Tamil Nadu, Jyotika said. However, she would like to see more protagonists who are ‘35-plus’. “There has been huge change over the last five to seven years. There are a lot of women-centric films that are being made and doing well. In the South, 90 per cent women-centric films that have released have done well as compared to male-centric films, where it is 50/50. So I think women-centric films always come with good content and we work thrice as much harder to get it right,” she said. “One thing which is not picking up is as women are ageing, we still don’t have more of 35-plus heroines who are ruling the roost. There are more films made with the younger ones. I think that it would be pathbreaking to see all the women above 40, 45 and 50 -- the way it is in Hollywood -- if there are more films made on them,” she added.

(Source: India Today) 

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