‘I am not saying all films should have a message. But I think it is important for cinema to send out the right signals to the audience.’
Tamil film Laabam, based on farmers’ rights, has received poor reviews and has bombed at the box office.
Vijay Sethupathi, who stars in the film with Shruti Haasan, is among India’s leading actors, and it seems surprising to see his name in the film’s cast.
The actor justifies himself in the film and tells Subhash K Jha, “Not every the film is done for artistic satisfaction.”
What made you take Laabam up?
I believed in the subject.
With due respect, I must say not every film is done for artistic satisfaction.
Yes, cinema should be aesthetic and cinematic.
But it needs to be a lot more.
I don’t think cinema is only for mass entertainment though I do films that are for entertainment only.
I also do films that are informative.
I don’t believe cinema is for timepass.
It must be an important tool for reformation. I did Laabam for this reason.
So you did the film to spread the message on farmers’ rights?
You must understand that the Britishers exploited Indians for 300 years. Why were they able to do that?
Because they believed in divide-and-rule.
While the rich have always remained one community, the poor are divided on the basis of cast, colour, economic status, etc etc.
The farmers have always been an exploited community.
During the British Raj, they produced sugarcane which was used by the Britishers to make molasses, sugar and paper.
Sugarcane was used to create every profit.
What did farmers get? Almost nothing.
The exploitation of farmers continues.
Laabam is important, given the historical context of the farmers’ agitation.
I am not saying all films should have a message. But I think it is important for cinema to send out the right signals to the audience.
What are you working on now?
I have to finish Raj and DK’s Web series for Amazon.
Shahid Kapoor and I are not fighting about our roles. We are working peacefully, so no controversy there.
After this, I start Sriram Raghavan’s film with Katrina Kaif in December.
Then I have Kamal Sir (Haasan)’s film to complete.