South film star Jayam Ravi says his soon-to-be-released feature “Bhoomi” is quite relevant as it comes at a time when the farmers are agitating against the Centre’s three farm laws. Directed by Lakshman, the movie features Ravi as Bhoominathan, a scientist of NASA, who works for a mission to develop agriculture on Mars. But when he visits his hometown for a break before his mission, he realises that he should save the country’s farmers before trying farming in outer space.
The actor, known for movies such as “Jayam”, “Unakkum Enakkum”, “Santhosh Subramaniam” and “Thillalangadi”, said the Tamil-language movie goes into the issues that farmers are raising through their protests.
“We see it as a blessing in disguise that our film is releasing at this time when the issue is actually happening in reality. It was supposed to release ten months before but the theatres were shut then. We were ready with our movie and hence we decided to come on OTT.
“Looking at the farmers’ protest, who are saying, ‘Let us sell what we have produced’… this is the same thing that the movie deals with when we shot it about a year ago,” Ravi told PTI in a zoom interview.
Thousands of farmers from Haryana, Punjab and other states have stayed put at various border points of Delhi since November 26 as part of their protest against the Centre’s farm laws.
Farmers worry these laws will eliminate the safety net of MSP and do away with mandis that ensure earning. But the government says the MSP system will continue and the new laws will give farmers more options to sell their crop.
The 40-year-old actor is aware that there have been films in the past that have highlighted farmers’ problems, what separates “Bhoomi” from the rest is that it deals with the subject from political, social, ideological and emotional standpoints.
“We haven’t just taken it as a selling point for the movie. There is a major issue (they are facing). Farmers who reap the crops, must also reap the rewards but that is not happening currently.
“All they are saying is we want to sell our produce but there is a mediator in between. There is a difference in cost of selling and buying and we want to talk about this issue,” he said.
The actor said they did in-depth research to present the ground reality to the audience through the movie.
“We have taken it as a responsible point and discussed every issue and provided real facts and some scientific information.”
Citing examples of some of his films including “Thani Oruvan”, “Adanga Maru”, which have dealt with social issues, Ravi said he was waiting for an opportunity to do a film about farmers and their issues.
The actor believes cinema can make a difference as it is a powerful medium and he would be happy if “Bhoomi” can help highlight the issue in any way.
“I have a social responsibility and I believe everyone has, including those who are part of cinema or any other profession. I am part of society.
“I have a gift of mass media in form of cinema and let me say something in my movies, if people like it, great. The response has been good to my films like “Adanga Maru”, “Thani Oruvan”, “Comali” which have had social messages and it only encourages me to do that again in my next outing,” Ravi added.
“Bhoomi” will be premiering on streamer Disney+ Hotstar during the festival of Pongal on January 14.
The film was supposed to have its theatrical release on May 1, 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19. The movie reunites the actor with filmmaker Lakshman after their two successful movies – “Romeo Juliet” (2015) and “Bogan” (2017).
“Bhoomi” also stars Nidhhi Agerwal, Sakshi Dwivedi, Ronit Roy and Saranya Ponvannan, among others. Besides “Bhoomi”, the actor has his plate full with interesting projects including Mani Ratnam-directed “Ponniyin Selvan”, also Vikram and starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
He is also doing a film, tentatively titled “Jana Gana Mana” with Taapsee Pannu, and collaborating with his brother Mohan on another movie.