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Hello! Let's meet again

After "Mitr," Revathy Menon's issue-based "Phir Milenge" is ready for release



Revathy is sure of the market for issue-based films — Photo: V. Ganeshan

A LOT of us have touching personal experiences of others' pain and anguish. The likes of David Dhawan say they would "love to forget them," while the likes of Revathy Menon ponder over them and even make them into a film! Her latest, Phir Milenge, is based on her experiences while campaigning for HIV/AIDS awareness for the past few years. And she met like-minded people in Precept Picture Company around 40 days ago.

"Once my producer and I were talking about the stigma that HIV in India carries, and suddenly we ended up saying together, `Why not make a film on it?' And that was it. Then and there it was decided that it will be a mainstream, commercial film," recalls Revathy as she readies for its release.

Before you conclude that the film, Revathy's second directorial venture, is going to teach you what HIV means, hold on. Revathy clarifies, "We are not educating people about AIDS or HIV. Nor are we going to tell them how to prevent it or how it happens. It only deals with the dishonour it brings and how an infected person undergoes emotional trauma because of the stigma. We are keeping it as close to reality as possible." She did not visit any AIDS related organisation for her film. "The film does not talk about that. It is as simple," she warns.

The cast factor

As for the cast, Salman and Shilpa are no longer a craze, and Abhishek has not found too many admirers yet. "I knew from the very beginning the kind of cast I wanted, faces audiences know well. For instance, I wanted a glamorous-looking girl to play an advertising executive. I saw Shilpa in a few films and could make out she would manage it well. Salman's role demanded a mature countenance that he now bears. I did not take him for his looks or muscles. Abhishek of course has a lot of potential, and he has recently proved it in Yuva too. Moreover, I had a budget-specific amount. When Salman heard the storyline he immediately agreed, and he also decided to donate whatever amount he would get for the HIV cause. Since it was an issue-based film, no one talked about money, from the cast to the crew to the music director and lyricist. And no one intervened in my totally ready script," says a happy Revathy.

Set in Bangalore, the film was shot there and in Chennai in 36 days, reveals the director who made waves with Mitr - My Friend when Revathy went behind the camera and wielded the megaphone for the first time.Recently seen in Dhoop, which despite being issue-based, did not do well, Revathy is realistic about Phir Milenge's chance. "There are all kinds of people who come to watch a film. Some come to see the art of cinema making and some for romantic reasons. A film is a romantic medium and Dhoop wasn't one. You cannot expect a rickshawallah who goes to see a film for the sheer pleasure of visuals and romance. This film got critical acclaim thanks to the multiplexes. Now you can take risks by making small-budgeted, meaningful films and still not be in the red." Not that she can't make a film about lovebirds dancing around the trees. "I am working on a few ideas. My next film may not necessarily be a Mitr or Phir Milenge types. It can be totally different." Well then, till we meet again!

RANA SIDDIQUI

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