2023 has been an eventful year for Keerthi Pandian, her wedding to Ashok Selvan was the talk of the town, and now with her movie Kannagi’s release, she’s all set to bring out some impactful stories to the forefront. She knew she wanted to act in movies, she comes from a film family. “I have been performing on stage for the last 8 years and I still continue to do so. I was taking care of film distribution, there is quite a bit I learned from a very young age Since my dad is into distribution and production. I was running a company that distributed films overseas. It releases regional films overseas. I was always associated with art, in one way or another.”-says Keerthi when asked why she wanted to be an actress.
There is a giggle and a spark in her voice when we ask her about her married life with Ashok Selvan, she seems truly in awe and in love. At the same time, she is passionate about her upcoming movie, Kannagi, a film about 4 women and their stories as they deal with what life throws at them.
Let’s talk about Kannagi, how did this movie happen? Why did you choose to do this movie?
The Director Yashwanth Kishore came up with the script of this movie about 5 years back and the way he presented it and spoke about it, it felt like such an honest representation of the characters and their world. There is nothing preachy, it’s a story. The movie takes you through their lives, it shows what happens to these individuals when they are put in certain circumstances.
Why do you think people should watch this movie in the theatres?
As a team, we did have to fight to release it only in theatres. Given how OTT has boomed and is acquiring good content across all languages. There were talks for the longest time that this should be released on OTT. I have been on this journey with the director for 5 years and there has been a lot happening around this film. We know what impact this film will have in a theatre. It’s magical at the theatres, where there are 100 people watching a movie together, forgetting their realities and getting transported into the world of the movie. I truly believe the magic should be experienced through Kannagi at the theatres. Also, with this film, we have gone with live sound, which means that there has been no dubbing. All the sounds that are picked up and you hear in the film are from that location including the breeze, the traffic, the train sound etc.
When there are a big bunch of commercial movies in theatres, how is a movie like Kannagi to get audiences into theatres?
People are free to choose what they want to watch. I am not someone to judge the audience. If there is an audience for a commercial film like Leo, I’m sure there is an audience for a sensitive film like this one too. Cinema is a drug, in my opinion. People like what they like. I’m accepting of them hating my films also, it gives me an understanding of how people are perceiving content.
Why should men watch this film and similarly why should women watch this film?
Irrespective of gender, this is a film to be watched for its portrayal of the different people in each story. I have had the privilege of being surrounded by very supportive and progressive men in my life. But that may not be the case with everyone. So this movie tells different stories and one could get a better understanding of the women in their lives through them. So, the movie doesn’t preach that you should think like this, or do this, or not do this. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Which films have been your favorite from this year?
I loved Chithha, it’s one of my favourites this year. Por Thozhil is also one of my favourites this year, for multiple reasons. Vignesh, the director is someone I’ve known for so long, he has travelled with Ashok for the longest time.
Your wedding was one of the most talked about events this year, and it was a sustainable wedding too. What made you do that?
As a person, there are certain things I’m very conscious about the use of plastic to be specific. I feel that we need to respect the place we live in, we have to safeguard it and protect it from harm. I was sure from the beginning that it had to be a plastic-free wedding. The people who put together the wedding, Vizha Medai, come from that school of thought. Even at the event we had in the city, everything was recycled, the flowers, the bouquets. Ashok really respects how much this matters to me, I do nag him here and there and ask him to be more conscious.
Even though it’s only been a few months, how would you describe your life after marriage?
It’s beautiful, but when I say beautiful, it doesn’t mean that everything is perfect and great. We have had our share of arguments and differences of opinion because it’s the first time we are living under the same roof. We are running our house together. Even though we have been together for so many years and go on trips together, this is totally different. I really love how we have learned more about each other.
What’s one thing that you both like to do together?
Given that both of us are part of this industry, we are constantly traveling and not in the city. Right after our wedding, within a week, he had to go to Pondicherry to shoot for a month. I went to Pondicherry for our one-month anniversary for a one-day trip. But he convinced me to stay for a week. Even now, if not for movie promotions, I would have gone to Sikkim., where he is shooting right now. I would have done a solo trip for 7-10 days and come back to the base camp, wherever they were shooting. One thing we do for sure is to talk to each other in the morning and at night.
What did Ashok Selvan think about Kannagi and your role in it?
He loved the film, he believes that Yashwant has a unique voice that needs to be heard and felt by people. He appreciated my role and my work, I’m very awkward when it comes to compliments and when someone appreciates me, so I would say that he loved the movie as a whole.
What are the other projects lined up? Or what are the kind of roles that you want to do in the future?
The next one that is gearing up for release is Blue Star with Ashok which is produced by Pa Ranjith. The story revolves around the sport of cricket and is set in the 90s. It’s a fun, lovable film. There is another film that I’m doing with Dad, it’s all under wraps for now, and the announcement will be made soon.