Parvathy doesn't need many retakes: Uyare director Manu Ashokan
Manu Ashokan on working with Parvathy, Asif Ali, and Tovino Thomas in his directorial debut Uyare. Parvathy plays an acid attack survivor in the film.
Uyare, starring Parvathy, Asif Ali, and Tovino Thomas, is one of the most anticipated films of the year. Debutant Manu Ashokan, who is helming this film about acid attack survivors, assisted several directors before signing this project. While he was assisting the late Rajesh Pillai, he met Uyare’s writers Bobby and Sanjay, the duo who had penned the critically-acclaimed script of Traffic.
“I was getting tired of the monotony and wanted to direct my own film. When Bobby and Sanjay told me about the subject of Uyare and agreed to write it as a script, I was surprised. Later we pitched the story to Parvathy, and she immediately agreed to do the project,” says Manu.
When quizzed on the challenges of doing such a sensitive subject, he says, “There were several questions in front of us. How to say certain things? How to bring it on screen? How can we do justice to this subject? How to make a film like this without commercialising it? The film needed a sympathetic approach. It’s possible to go the melodramatic route by creating a very dark, sad atmosphere, and getting the actors to cry a lot. But we decided from early on that we didn’t want to go there. We wanted to be as truthful as we could be to this subject.”
Tackling the post-attack look of Parvathy, who plays the acid attack survivor, was another challenge. “We asked ourselves if the prosthetic make-up will freak people out. But at the same time, we wanted to show the reality as it is. I feel whatever repulsion one feels initially will disappear after a few minutes; you’ll get used to it. After all, they’re people just like us. We had talked to a bunch of real-life acid attack survivors, and you can see that they have seen so much of life. We have used some elements from their lives. A portion of the film was shot at Sheroes Hangout, Lucknow. And when it comes to Parvathy, she gets deeply involved with her character. She doesn’t need many retakes. The maximum is two or three, but that too is a rarity.”
Is he concerned that Parvathy haters will not watch the film? “See, If they have something against her, then they shouldn’t take the pains to watch the film. It’s simple as that. As far as I’m concerned, I wanted someone who could play Pallavi well, and Parvathy fits the bill.”
On the characters of Asif and Tovino, Manu tells us the film was challenging for both actors. “These men appear at two different stages of her life. The first half is replete with psychological conflicts. Asif’s Govind is a very complicated character. He has reasons for doing certain things and has cocooned himself in his own little world. Asif hasn’t done anything like this before. Tovino’s Vishal, on the other hand, is a chilled-out guy who appears in the second half. He comes into Pallavi’s life accidentally. He is into adventure, philosophy, and reading, and carries the frustration of being forced to choose a different career path because of his father. He is someone we all can relate to.”
The film, Manu says, is realistic but not too realistic to turn audiences off. “Bobby and Sanjay, as with all their earlier scripts, have done extensive research on this subject and incorporated some cinematic elements to make the film more palatable for general audiences,” adds Manu. “The research took close to a year, and I wanted to do justice to their writing. To make sure that everything in their writing came live on the screen.”
Uyare is produced by the daughters of Grihalakshmi Productions’ PV Gangadharan — Sherga, Shegna, and Shenuga — under the banner of S Cube Films. The team has a couple of days left to wrap the film. The post-production process, which involves some complex VFX work, will commence shortly.