Rekha, starring Vincy Aloshious and Unni Lalu in lead roles, is co-produced by Karthik Subbaraj.
Last Updated: 06.58 PM, Mar 07, 2023
After delivering some thought provoking and stirring silver screen works to the audiences with his works like Attention please and Freedom Fight’s Pra Thoo Mu, Jithin Issac Thomas is tackling a story that is a step apart from his previous filmography, with Rekha. The revenge thriller starring Vincy Aloshious in the titular role had released in theatres on February 10, and is gearing up for its OTT release on Netflix on March 10. The film marks Jithin’s second collaboration with Karthik Subbaraj, with the popular Kollywood director having co-produced both Rekha and Attention Please.
In conversation with OTTplay, Jithin spoke about how he conceived the idea of the film, what made him choose Vincy for the titular role, how he describes his directing style, and his upcoming projects, among others.
Excerpts from the interview…
How did you conceive the idea of the film?
I had written the story of the film during the lockdown. I had not really put a lot of thought into it, I just wanted to write a story and I based it on an incident I remembered about two lovers, going too much into it would spoil the film’s story. (laughs)
So long story short, I wanted to pen a story, and wanted to develop a film around it, and thus Rekha was born. The story also includes hues of a love story, and I’ve tried to connect my own experiences as well as those of my friends, when writing those parts of the film’s story.
Your previous films delivered a strong political message through its stories. Is this something we can expect from Rekha as well?
Not really. As I have said before, even for Attention Please, it wasn't an attempt to bring across a serious political message and it is not really my aim as a director to bring about substantial social change. I just chose those subjects because they appealed to me.
As far as Rekha is concerned, my politics as a writer and storyteller will definitely be reflected. But it is not a political movie per say. And compared to my other films, you could say Rekha is comparatively more ‘commercial’.
A woman avenging the injustices done to her by a male perpetrator is not exactly a new concept explored in the thriller genre, especially in Malayalam films. For the people who haven't seen Rekha as yet, what sets it apart from the plethora of other revenge thrillers following a similar theme?
To be honest I haven't really thought about whether the content of the film was something that has been done before. Actually I’d initially thought my story was something very novel. It was only later, after completing the film, I realised that the theme of the film has been done before. But the way the film was made is definitely different. As a filmmaker, I have tried to make the film my own and bring in my own elements to the genre. But I can know for sure if my efforts have borne fruit only after audiences watch the film and give their feedback.
What was the reason for choosing Vincy Aloshious for the lead role?
Vincy is an artist of great calibre. She is able to handle and present each and every scene with such ease and grace is what I have observed. As an artist, she might have her own difficulties and strains while doing a scene, I do not know how she works on a scene, but to someone watching her work, she seems as cool as ever. She was also a dream to work with as a director, being able to scale up and down as the scene required
You have worked with Unni Lalu and Vishnu Govindan before(Freedom Fight, Attention Please). The duo played wildly different characters in the previous film, compared to Rekha. What made you choose the duo for Rekha?
I have a friend circle of mine, and I wanted to do a film with them, in the exact way I wanted to do it. Vishnu Govindan has a guest role in the film, appearing in one scene. Unni however, has a major lead role in the film. They all are very close friends of mine, people who I knew would stick with me and help me do the film in the exact way I wanted to do it. So when I worked on the film, I made sure to choose from my close friends circle first, since they are very familiar with the way I work and the way I want things done.
Your previous films, be it Pra Thoo Mu or Attention Please, were both vastly different from each other. In a previous chat with us, you’d said “ I don't make films to expect a particular reaction. I just do them, according to my liking and preference”. Would you describe your storytelling style as eclectic, or is there a method or criteria in which you choose your stories?
Not really. When shooting a particular scene, the way different directors try to showcase their ‘intent’ of the scene is different. Some may choose to make it something shocking, some may choose to make it more stylish, maybe in slow motion. In my case, since most of the films I’ve seen and love are like that, I like to make my scenes and visuals appear as raw as possible. So I keep that in mind when directing and developing each scene. Each director and writer has their own making styles and politics, and even if they try to change it up sometimes, it will reflect in their films one way or another.
You had spoken of how your segment in Freedom Fight was inspired by an instance you witnessed in your life, and you’d said that Rekha was inspired by a real life story you had heard as well. So could you say that you take inspiration from such real life stories for your work?
In Freedom Fight and in Rekha, the films do deal with subjects that people are familiar with, subjects and themes they know about or have heard about, at least when it comes to some elements. But most of the story is definitely something I have created,
Karthik Subbaraj had co-produced both Attention Please and Rekha. How was it working with the popular Tamil director?
Actually, more than Karthik Subbaraj, I’d worked more closely with Kaarthekeyen Santhanam (producer,Stone Bench Films). The latter was the one who was more involved in getting the film made. Subbaraj sir is a creative head and one of the founders of the banner, but I did not have a lot of contact with sir. He does watch the films and tells me what he thought about it, but again, we are not that close.
Could you open up a bit about your upcoming projects?
I have not committed to any projects as yet, but I am working on a few ideas. I do want to do a mass action entertainer, as well as a family drama. Until now, I have been doing films that I love, in a pattern that I love. Now I want to switch things up with a film that is more commercial.