Parvathy has been at the forefront of the fight against on-screen sexism in Malayalam cinema. She even proclaimed the blatant misogyny in Kasaba, Malayalam superstar Mammootty. And her comments sparked a huge controversy, the shadow of which still hangs around the professional relationship between Parvathy and Mammootty.
Screenwriter Harshad was skeptical when he approached Parvathy for… puzhu because he thought she might not be happy sharing screen space with Mammootty.
“I knew Harshad from back in the day. When he called me I asked him to just tell me the synopsis over the phone so I can tell him if I have dates. The first thing he said was, “I just want to make sure you’re okay with it even before I tell you the story. It’s going to be Mammootty playing in it.’ How does that matter? Who plays in a movie was never my concern? He said, “So you have no problem.” I’ve never had a problem with him. I repeat this forever. I’m a bit prepared for it and will keep repeating it until it’s resolved,” she told Galatta Plus.
“I didn’t think twice before I said yes (to Puzhu). There are a few times I’ve said yes on a phone call to a movie. The main reason is, again, I don’t want to give spoilers, the point I was trying to make throughout the Kasaba statement, this movie is going to prove it. Wanting to be part of this project is a win,” she added.
A few years ago, Parvathy had opened a can of worms by openly slamming Kasaba and expressing her disappointment at Mammootty’s starring role in the film. “Unfortunately I watched Kasaba. With all due respect to the technicians who worked on the film. I was absolutely disappointed to see an actor (Mammootty) deliver dialogue par excellence to a woman in a scene that was not only derogatory but deeply distressing,” Parvathy had said during a panel discussion at the International Film Festival of Kerala.
The Malayalam film industry has come a long way since then. It’s safe to say that gender awareness among filmmakers has improved significantly. And Parvathy also has a part to play in this change among other members of the film fraternity.
“The whole Kasaba thing took its toll on a lot of people other than me and Mammukka. My whole question to everyone is: did you hear what I said? There’s a YouTube video I can play for you and you’ll see I never attacked him (Mammootty). The conversation looming over me and Mammukka has even taken the shine off Puzhu. At least that will calm down after this film,” she noted.
Debut director Ratheena PT has mentored Puzhu from a script written by Harshad of Unda fame. The film is being funded by Dulquer Salmaan’s home banner Wayfarer Films. It premieres on SonyLIV on May 13.