Urvashi On Why Filming 'Ullozhukku' Was Physically and Mentally Draining

The Christo Tomy film co-stars Urvashi and Parvathy as a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law duo who come to terms with grief and secrets

Christo Tomy's Ullozhukku revolves around the death of a young lady’s husband and her relationship with her mother-in-law, who grows increasingly suspicious of her. Shot extensively in Kuttanad, a land of backwaters in Kerala, the emotional drama stars Urvashi and Parvathy Thiruvothu. In an interview with Film Companion South, the powerhouse actresses opened up about how the house they filmed in was filled with negative energy in the initial days of the shooting, and how they coped to get into the flesh of the characters.

“One week after the shooting began, the movie began to take a toll on my mental state," says Urvashi. "There was of course a lot of physical constraints involved in the process but something was wrong besides that. I conveyed this to the director, and he told me this house had been locked up for a long time. We also heard of the many unlucky events that happened there at the time of floods." So they went to the extent of calling a priest to bless the house.

The team completed filming within a schedule of 43 days, bearing with the extreme weather conditions of Kuttanad. “There hasn’t been a film that has posed so many physical challenges for me recently. My costume was mostly cotton sarees and it used to get wet after all the takes. After a break, I'd have to make it dry and come back, but it would still remain sticky. While this went on for 10-15 days, then came the after-effects of it and I could feel it all over my body. But the fact is that we had to go through such pain to make a good film," the actress adds.

The five-time Kerala State Award-winning actress has been an active presence in South Indian cinema for over 40 years. “In the old days, it was a riot. I used to act in multiple films at the same time so there was no luxury to be selective and prepare seriously for your characters," she recalls. "The directors at that time didn’t give you much detailing except for directors like Sathyettan (Sathyan Anthikkad). I was on the sets all the time with no scheduled working time and there was no other option in those days," she says, adding that it was a game of trust. "Expectations of any appreciation or awards were not there, and my sole prayer was for these films to not be flops at the box office."

The actress also talks about the improvements in technology in the digital age and how it helps artists give an authentic performance. “Sync sound is a big support for me. At the time of performance, our whole body assists us in giving a good take. But when it comes to dubbing, there is an artificiality in reproducing the same emotion. When I am screaming from the middle of a flood in this film, that minute detail in my sound is now captured by the technology."

The film will be released in theatres on June 21.

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