Bhavana on her comeback in Malayalam cinema: Its an overwhelming feeling

Bhavana on her comeback in Malayalam cinema: 'It's an overwhelming feeling'

It’s been exactly six years since south Indian actor Bhavana Menon went through the most traumatic experience of her life, which had literally silenced her for a while. Even though she managed to emerge from this silence by revealing her identity about her 2017 sexual assault through a social media post and a subsequent video interview, she stayed away from the limelight and from the Malayalam film industry.

However, on the sixth anniversary of that horrific day, Bhavana is all set to make her comeback in Malayalam films. Her new release ‘Ntikkakkakkoru Premandarnnu’ directed by debutant Aadhil Mymoonath Ashraf, is slated to hit the screen on February 24.

In an email interview with The Federal, Bhavana speaks about how it feels to be back in Malayalam films, about her new co-stars and her expectations and hopes about her ongoing court case.

Given that it’s been five years since your last Malayalam film, how do you feel about your comeback?

It’s an overwhelming feeling, I decided to take a sabbatical in 2017 and that lasted for more than five years. It almost feels like my debut; I am experiencing the same feeling that I had when my first movie was about to release. Perhaps, I am more nervous now, as I was too young back then to comprehend the magnitude of this profession, fame and everything that’s attributed to being an actress.

You made a public appearance at a huge event, like the IFFK last year. How did you feel about being on such a stage with a fantastic crowd cheering for you?

To be honest, I was a bit taken aback. Renjith sir had invited me to that event, which is, of course, one of the most prestigious film festivals that our state hosts and trust me, I was extremely nervous to go on that stage. It was after a very long time I had appeared for a mass event like that. But, I’m grateful to everyone who gathered there and cheered for me. Immediately, I had a meltdown because it was beyond overwhelming.

Ntikkakkakkoru Premandarnnu, Malayalam film industry
The poster of ‘Ntikkakkakkoru Premandarnnu’

‘Ntikkakkakkoru Premandarnnu’ is a small movie with a relatively new crew and cast. Why did you select such a film for your comeback?

There’s no particular reason that I can put my finger on it, but I guess it’s about meeting the right people at the right time. At that time, I felt doing a movie with fresh faces would be comforting. Also, I didn’t want to do a highly emotional, intense drama. I wanted to be a part of a light-hearted family drama. So, ‘Ntikkakka…’ sort of fit the bill.

What was your experience working after such a long gap, especially after the difficult time you had gone through?

All thanks to the cast and crew for creating a very comfortable experience, it was very minimalistic for me just like the film. I had all the jitters and anxiousness before coming onto the set. I had my friends with me saying ‘it’s going to be all right’. It wasn’t that easy but it was not unmanageable at the same time. Thankfully, I was in very safe hands.

You were doing Kannada films during this period, how was the experience there?

I did my first Kannada film in 2010, it was like a dream debut. The movie was a blockbuster with one of the best co-stars ever to work with, the late Puneet Rajkumar. It was more or less an alien language for me, but slowly and steadily, I picked it up and most of my movies did very well there. The Kannada industry is very well organised, everyone is so professional and great to work with.

Now you are working in more mainstream films in Malayalam, what’s your immediate plan?

I was always in mainstream cinema. I grew up watching commercial movies of Priyadarshan sir, Kamal sir, Shaji Kailas sir etc., and I always wanted to be part of the world they create. I’m listening to more scripts now and I’ve signed a couple of movies in both Malayalam and Tamil. So, I will start working on them one by one.

Can we talk about the support you received from the film industry, when you were going through a challenging period in your life?

The support from the industry was very heartening. Most of my friends stood by me, when I needed them. I will always be grateful to them.

Are you seeing life differently now? Is there any drastic change in your approach to work?

Everyone becomes more mature and content as they grow. Experiences teach us a lot. I have become more patient now, I value other people’s time, I understand the importance of mental health more now. Other than that, I like to believe I’m still the same.

Coming back to ‘Ntikkakka…’, can you comment on your pairing with Sharafuddin, an actor who established himself during the period you had stayed away from the Malayalam industry?

Sharaf and I hit it off very well, of course, it took a day or two to break the ice because we hadn’t met each other before this film at all. Our approach to the movie was similar, we both are not into doing rehearsals, he’s very spontaneous. It was a very memorable experience.

Are you confident that justice will prevail in your case? I won’t push you for an answer if you don’t wish to reply

I really hope so. I mean at the end of the day, it’s humans, not God who decides the verdict.

Read More
Next Story