She is a multiple National Award winner but there’s something about her award-winning habit that Revathy, 46, doesn’t like. “I seem to win it every 10 years. I hope I win the next one sooner than that,” says the actor-turned-director jokingly. She won her first National Award in 1992 for best supporting actress in Thevar Magan, a Tamil movie starring Kamal Haasan. Ten years later, she won the best director for her film Mitr—My Friend. And in 2012, she won Best Non-feature Film on Family Welfare for Red Building Where the Sun Sets, about parents squabbling in front of their children. “It deals with how a child deals with his parents’ relationship at the age of 6-8,” she explains.
She made her debut early in the 1990s but did only a handful of Hindi movies — notably Raat, Love (with Salman Khan). Recently she was seen in Nishabdopposite Amitabh Bachchan. “There aren’t roles which excite me much these days,” she says. Perhaps that is why she is focusing on direction, at least in Hindi cinema, although she denies this and says making movies is what she enjoys doing the most. Filmmaking, for her, is giving the audience an experience that they will take back home. “I like it when the audience tells me that my film remained in their thoughts for a long time,” she says.
Her movies are thought-provoking. Phir Milenge had Abhishek Bachchan, Shilpa Shetty and Salman Khan, and dealt with how an HIV-positive woman is discriminated against at work, or Mitr—My Friend, which focused on the relationship between mothers and daughters. Her movies cater to niche audiences but she believes that they strike a chord with people from all sections of society. As a director, her movies are in stark contrast to those in which she has acted. “Over the years, my sensibilities towards the kind of movies I do have changed — both as an actor and director,” she says.
About her latest award-winning venture, she says it wasn’t even a movie by a big production house. Red Building was produced by Edu Media, a company which deals with creative ways of providing learning and entertainment to children. “We went to her two years ago with the project but she was a bit busy,” says Syed Sultan Ahmed, managing director at Edu Media. Sultan and his team were convinced that Revathy was the one who could make the film in a way that reached to out to the audience. Revathy herself says the script was excellent and that she could relate to it very well.
She is enjoying the new phase of her career and says it is good to see Bollywood making brave cinema and not sticking to the formula. Earlier, it was her movies like Phir Milenge which weren’t exactly mainstream and still drew big names. “Now everyone is willing to experiment and it is refreshing to see all kinds of genres in our cinema.”
She is working on a script but will not talk about it. No acting assignments are on her plate. “I do roles which I believe in and such roles aren’t coming my way as of now,” she says. She is quite happy to work on her scripts and in between do movies like Red Building. “It’s not that I want to send out a message through every movie I make, but yes, it is important for me that a viewer takes back something from my movies,” she says. Another National Award may not be a whole decade away, this time, for her.