"The idea to make Bhoomi sparked during the time of Jallikattu protest in Tamil Nadu. The revolutionary moment instilled in me a deep thought to create a film with dashes of realism." - Director Lakshman
Jayam Ravi starrer Bhoomi has imparted beams of excitement and expectations. Kudos to the Jayam Ravi-director Lakshman duo for its back-to-back blockbusters Romeo & Juliet and Bogan. Their third outing has skipped the theatrical release and gets streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, January 2021 onwards. The mammoth looks of Jayam Ravi, the spellbinding visuals, stylish baddie, and lots of emotional plays. The Trailer has propelled up lots of exhilaration that comes tagged with inquisitive investigations about the movie. In this exclusive chat, director Lakshman shares his journey into the world of Bhoomi and how he sees the transformational change from theatrical to OTT releases.
You and Jayam Ravi have managed to deliver back to back hits with Romeo & Juliet and Bogan. Did the idea about Bhoomi happen before these movies?
Lakshman: The idea to make Bhoomi sparked during the time of Jallikattu protest in Tamil Nadu. The revolutionary moment instilled in me a deep thought to create a film with dashes of realism. When I discussed the gist with Jayam Ravi, he was impressed, and it immediately created a way for the inception of Bhoomi.
We have come across certain Tamil movies with protagonists as the world-famous tycoons with good hearts. They come back and settle down here in India for contributing towards society, which eventually lands them on bad books of corporate minds and politicians. The Bhoomi trailer faintly reminiscences us of such paradigms.
Lakshman: (Smiles) Actually, Jayam Ravi's character in Bhoomi is inspired by Elon Musk. I wanted to project the protagonist as someone aggressively engaged in progressing, who has already piled up myriad accomplishments. When it comes to the antagonist, I was keen on refraining from stereotypes. My philosophy is that every individual has good and evil quotients within. Significantly, the baddie is not gruesome, but someone who believes in his ideologies and never gives upon them. The story is about a conflict that breaks open between them and how these powerful men confront each other.
Exciting to see the top-notch CG works in the visual promos. Does the full-length feature have lots to offer us?
Lakshman: Yes, there are lots, and I want the audience to experience it themselves rather than me bringing it up as a spoiler now.
Having witnessed the cheers and applause for movies in theatres, what is your current state of mind on Bhoomi skipping a theatrical release and premiered on the OTT platform?
Lakshman: Initially, it was a little disappointing. Of course, every filmmaker, actor, or technician would like to sit and experience the excitement inside cinema halls. But, we need to adapt according to the situations. With a giant platform like Disney+ Hotstar streaming Bhoomi across the world, I am confident that the film will witness a phenomenal reach.
Ronit Roy is one of the reputed actors in Bollywood. He is already a star in Disney+ Hotstar for his series Hostages is acclaimed as one of the biggest hits.
Lakshman: As you have said, he is one of the most celebrated artists in Bollywood, who has exhibited a top-notch caliber performance in all entertainment mediums. From TV serials, movies, and web series, he has proved his proficiency and won the acclaims consistently. When I approached him for the antagonist role and narrated him the script, he jokingly said, 'You have narrated me a story that has a hero contributing so much to society. I want to be either his companion or helper rather than a baddie.” Ronit Roy sir is such a talent, and he has done a fabulous job in this film. The reason behind choosing a Hindi actor for this character is because it belongs to the respective region.
Your previous films Romeo & Juliet and Bogan had a substantial prominence for female lead characters. How about the role that Nidhhi Agerwal has played in Bhoomi?
Lakshman: She plays a pivotal role and will appear throughout the film rather than being confined to the blink-and-miss character. But I have not emphasized more on the romantic episodes. Bhoomi majorly revolves around the clash between the hero and villain, which will keep the audience glued. I strongly felt that adding unwanted romantic or comedy tracks will play a spoilsport. However, Nidhhi has a substantial prominence in the film.
Does it mean that Bhoomi will refrain from commercial elements and have something to preach to the crowds?
Lakshman: No! Bhoomi is a wholesome entertainer. Since the film deals with a crisis that every audience can relate to, I felt that adding unwanted elements would eventually scatter their attention and dilute the main plot. Of course, the film is an amalgamation of emotions, family, action, and songs. It will be a 100% family entertainer for the festive occasion of Pongal.
D Imman musical scores have been one of the intriguing attractions in your previous films.
Lakshman: Much like Jayam Ravi, D Imman was very much excited listening to the script. He was enthusiastic and energetic as he felt that the story owns lots of emotions. He has rendered wonderful music, and it has furthermore enhanced the quality of Bhoomi.
Jayam Ravi looks more heroic and gigantic in action sequences of Bhoomi when compared to his erstwhile movies. Seemingly, he has adhered to the world of Ponniyin Selvan created by Mani Ratnam.
Lakshman: Yes, it’s true, and I would claim this as an unexpected bonanza. Mani Ratnam sir has already shaped him up for the role of Raja Raja Chozhan, which made him look more heroic in Bhoomi. I am glad that it happened during the same period we started working on Bhoomi. I thank Mani Ratnam sir, for this blissful endowment of transforming Jayam Ravi.
What will be the takeaway for audiences with Bhoomi?
Lakshman: As I have told you earlier, Bhoomi doesn’t preach or attempt to convey any message; but deals with an issue that our society is going through now. Around 60-70% of our country is agricultural lands, but they are slowly getting converted into industrial plots, which adversely affect our lives either directly or indirectly. We have tried presenting such issues in the film in an entertaining manner.