Rima Kallingal: Women with strong voices find themselves deprived of opportunities
Rima Kallingal, who returns to Tamil cinema after a decade, talks about her comeback film Chithirai Sevvanam, her first outing as a cop, and more
With the recent Tamil release, Chithirai Sevvanam directed by Stunt Silva, Rima Kallingal has returned to Tamil cinema after a decade. The long gap, Rima says, was not deliberate. "I got some offers; Karthik Subbaraj discussed Iraivi with me, but I was shooting for Rani Padmini at the time. Some other interesting projects came my way, but they clashed with the few Malayalam films I was working on", clarifies Rima.
Fewer films coming her way in Malayalam is a result of Rima's no-holds-barred approach to issues of women's representation and discrimination. "Any woman in this society who takes a stand on these issues, ends up getting affected. Despite all the hurt though, I believe I'm fighting a good battle and I'm proud of that."
Her recent release, Chithirai Sevvanam, saw this State-award winning actor playing a police officer for the first time. "People in Malayalam cinema see me in a certain light and offer only certain kinds of roles. But Tamil cinema is able to picture me in other types of characters. It's the first time I'm playing a woman in a position of power, one who is also empathetic and humane."
Did she notice a shift in sensibilities between the languages? "I had apprehensions when I read the script, as certain scenes seemed cinematic and loud. But Silva sir had his vision, and as an artist, I exist as a tool to execute that. The good thing is, I got the space to raise concerns and had discussions with him. Now that I know Silva sir, I understand why he chose to make his debut with this film."
Chithirai Sevvanam and the popular Drishyam franchise both deal with a girl's privacy getting violated. Rima sees a fundamental difference between both. "Drishyam was criticised for making the issue seem like the end of the world. Even Jeethu Joseph admitted that it was just a plotline and that he doesn't align with that point. Chithirai Sevvanam avoids that mistake. We need parents to tell their kids that such issues are not the end of the world."
Rima, a producer and an aspiring filmmaker herself, is a keen follower of Tamil cinema. "I loved Jai Bhim, and also love how Jyotika has come back as an actor and turned into a producer as well. It's inspiring to see that." The actor is up for commercial cinema so long as it's within her sensibilities. "I always want people who invest their money to earn profits. I love seeing people visiting theatres, whistling, and having fun watching films. I want to do those films, but so long as the content agrees with my thinking."