‘Imagine KGF  with a woman as the protagonist’

Amala Paul, who has made her debut as a producer with the latest Disney+Hotstar release, Cadaver, speaks of the risks she’s taken and her vision for women-centric films.

Published: 18th August 2022 07:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th August 2022 07:18 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Amala Paul likes taking risks. When speaking around the release of Aadai, she said she wouldn’t have a problem if the project’s boldness stopped her from getting projects. Now, three years later, she returns with her next Tamil feature, Cadaver, and this project too contains its fair share of ‘risks’. It marks her debut as a producer for one. For another, it has been stuck in limbo until Disney+ Hotstar ensured it got a release, last week. Amala shares that her determination stems from her love for characters. “I don’t often get attached to a script, but once I do, I give my fullest. I love pouring all my energy into a project I’m drawn to.”

She understands that her recent roles could potentially see her getting stereotyped. “Ratsasan and Aadai were thrillers, and so, I got offers to act in other films of the genre. Cadaver, delayed by three years, too is a thriller. The industry might wonder whether I’m only drawn to thrillers, but the truth is, I finished work on them a long time ago.” The actor hopes to do only “colourful, light-hearted films” in the near future. “There was a time when I was doing only commercial entertainers; I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and do thrillers. Now, the tables have turned. It is time to redefine myself.”

The actor had taken a sabbatical from acting in 2020 and spoke about using the period to analyse her films, trade, and the evolving taste of audiences. She also went on a “spiritual discovery, travelled places and interacted with a variety of people”. She says it helped make her a better person. “I am able to channelise these learnings and observations into my work. The deeper I explore, the better performer I become,” she says.

Admittedly, she has work to do on detaching herself from characters she plays. “The characters I play stay within me. This is why I try not to work in multiple films at the same time. When I get invested in a character, I align my mind and body towards her. It’s hard for me to snap out of roles. I am in awe of those who can.”

Recently, OTT content has given her a lot of opportunities, and she’s perhaps the only actor to be a part of content across all major platforms, including Netflix (Pitta Kathalu), Aha (Kudi Yedamaithe), SonyLiv (Victim - Who is next?), Voot (Ranjish Hi Sahi), and now, Disney+ Hotstar (Cadaver). She credits it all to the risk she took with Aadai. “The film was judged badly after its theatre release, but when it came out later on Amazon Prime Video, many people appreciated my work. I guess this encouraged filmmakers to approach me with interesting content.”

In her latest OTT release, Cadaver, she plays a police surgeon, a role for which she prepared by speaking with pathologists and visiting mortuaries. Though the film has opened to underwhelming reviews, her character and performance have impressed. She attributes her decision to turn producer to ‘destiny’, and reveals that Cadaver was initially conceived as a Malayalam feature. “Back in 2016, there weren’t any woman-centric thrillers in Malayalam. The original producers wanted to go for a male protagonist. However, director Anoop Panicker was stubborn about retaining the character as a woman. We changed the language to Tamil instead and I decided to produce it.”

Amala expresses displeasure about woman-centric films being put under the microscope. “They seem to get subjected to unwanted attention and analysis, when I believe that they should be seen as just another film.” She dislikes such films getting labelled as ‘empowerment films’ or ‘message films’. “We must have fun, big-budget films that feature women… Imagine a heroine at the centre of KGF. Imagine top heroes playing supporting roles. If George Clooney can do it for Sandra Bullock’s Gravity, why not our heroes?”
She hopes to continue to take risks and believes in taking life and films one step at a time. “I am not bothered about what others think about me. I ran after that for a long time, but no longer. I will just keep trying to be the best version of myself.”


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