Jyothika is back!
Usually, leading ladies of South Indian cinema bid adieu to the arc lights when matrimony and subsequently motherhood beckon. Many have come back to face the camera after a hiatus but only a rare few in the history of South Indian cinema have had a successful second innings in films. That too, after switching to cameos and character roles. But then, Jyothika is not your regular star. Nor has she ever been. Having ruled the roost for half a decade after making her Tamil debut with Vaali in 1999, Jyothika is all set to comeback with a power-packed and meaningful lead role in 36 Vayadhinile. And judging by the hype that the film is generating, she is doing so in her own inimitable style and with tons of grace! Close on the heels of this stunning and exclsuive photo shoot for us, styled by film industry trendsetter and veteran Anu Parthasarathy, Shankaran Malini caught up with one of modern South Indian cinema’s best loved heroines at the beautiful house she lives in, with her superstar husband Suriya and their adorable kids – Diya and Dev.
What are your thoughts and feelings about your comeback film?
It feels great that people have appreciated me and given me a warm welcome. In fact, it’s a shocking welcome! Suriya has been telling me how fans and audiences have been looking forward towatch me again on the silver screen. And that’s why I am very excited. I am back to acting after motherhood. And it is proving to be more fun, while also demanding more responsibility, and more maturity. Naturally, I am bound to deliver a good performance.
As a mother of two, what would you like to share with married women?
Women should not sit at home after marriage. There is a period in life after marriage, when your family is paramount, you need to have kids and give them time,and be round them constantly till they are old enough to go to school. But you have to get back to work at some point. That’s what gives you name and your life, more meaning. I see many women who have been given a good education by their parents, relegate their qualification to just their certificates. I would like to take this opportunity to urge those women to get back to work, and do something, whether small or big. That’s why this film has been remade from Malayalam to Tamil – we want to show audiences that women do have their own place in society.
How did you choose the script?
It all happened over a weekend. Suriya was in Kerala for the promotions of Anjaan. Somebody had given him a CD of this film. AT that point, since nothing was planned, the CD was even lying idle on our table for four days! But once we watched it, we were sure we wanted to remake this film under our own banner. I watched the film only once. After that I didn’t. I didn’t want any aspect of Manju’s performance to influence my performance. I am planning to meet her sometime after the success of my film. I am ware that Manju visits Chennai very often though. Often, a remake is compared with the original. So also is the case of adaptations, like from a novel to a film. Manju’s performance won overwhelming acclaim.
Will you be able to live up to the expectations of Malayalam audiences?
Yes, I have been getting a lot of feedback and I know that Malayalam audiences are excited to see another person playing the character of the protagonist in the film. There is a lot of buzz in Malayalam cinema. They want to compare and watch. Perhaps, films like ‘36 Vayadhinile’ can set a new trend in Tamil movie with its woman centric role. It depends largely on our audience to come out of their houses and see a film like this. Women should definitely see this film because for one thing, I am very confident that they can connect with it. The film is like an event out of their lives and in that sense, it is very real. And it’s every woman’s film.
How will a 36-year old heroine compare to the leading ladies in their twenties?
A 36-year-old woman is much more experienced than a 26-year-old. The life women at that age have seen, the maturity they have and the sensibility that comes along with it – none of this reflects in bubbly roles. At the age of 36, most married women are mothers too. At 36 you know how to give. This is not the case at the age of 26. It’s a more selfish age where you want more and more and you haven’t seen the world around you much. At 36, I am a much better person than I was at 25 or 26. And, this is something I can be proud of.
Will ‘36 Vayadhinile’ be the beginning of your second innings?
Every script which comes to me, should hopefully be better than the last script that I have done and it should impress me more than the previous one. I was keen on this script for a comeback because of its social message. Even from a standpoint of just films, I think for the last eight years women have not been getting this kind of place on celluloid. I liked the script so much that I was open to working in any production. Being an actor himself, my husband was helpful in this venture, and our 2D Entertainment produced the film and gave me the platform. Suriya has been the main fulcrum in making this film happen. He has always wanted me to come back to the silver screen. Whether it was about taking a Sunday off or going back home after 6 o’ clock, working with 2D has given me a lot of flexibility. Suriya himself has been doing a lot of publicity
for the film.”
You have worked with most of the respected names in the film industry, from Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan to Ajith and Vijay. What do you think of them?
Rajini sir did what perhaps no other hero would have done, by naming the film after the female character – Chandramukhi. Kamal sir of course has been taking cinema leap years ahead through his acting skills. Ajith and Vijay are closer to my age and I have worked with them ever since I started my career. I have fond memories of my films
with all of them.”
You have earned so much respect and love for yourself from people – whether as an actress or as a star wife on a hiatus – that your comeback has generated enormous hype. This is something very few stars have been able to achieve. Comment.
Thank you! I think it’s all about the right thing happening at the right time; taking the right decisions at the right age. For me, it was falling in love with the right person for me, Suriya, and getting married to him, having two children after that and landing the right script for my comeback. Even before I went on a hiatus, I ended with a good film, Mozhi.
How has life with Suriya been? How do you keep the spark alive as a couple?
Suriya has been my everything. My first film started with him. Even back then, he would always talk to me about the things he loved and wanted to do. We started off as friends, that friendship changed into love and love culminated in marriage. I love the respect he gives women. I can proudly say that he is one of the very few actors who even when doing physically intimate scenes with co-stars, makes it a point to do it with consideration and respect. I adore that quality in him – it is really special. I think
our marriage works so well because there is a lot of respect and understanding that we share. We talk a lot and that helps us stay connected to each other’s needs. It is
important for a husband and wife to share at multiple levels. We also love spending time together. We enjoy vacations where we can travel with the kids, be cut off from
everything for a few days, spend quality time together and come back.”
Suriya, the husband or Suriya, the father – who is better?
Ah! That’s a good question. No one has asked me this, nor have I ever thought about it. Suriya is a very, very good husband, most certainly. He has always stood by me, through everything. From the day we got to know each other, till today, he has given me a lot of respect. He enjoys the time he gets to spend with our children, so he is a great father as well.Between the two of us, he patches up fast and even makes up for the most part of it. I am pretty much the quiet kind. The only thing that I would perhaps want to change in him is his habit of talking long hours on the phone.