Cold Case, the highly anticipated mystery crime thriller is gearing up for an Amazon Prime Video release on June 30, Wednesday. The movie, which features Prithviraj Sukumaran and Aruvi fame Aditi Balan as the protagonists, marks the directorial debut of popular cinematographer Tanu Balak.
Renowned actress Suchitra Pillai is making a comeback to Malayalam cinema with Cold Case. From the teaser and trailer that have set the social media on fire, it is evident that Suchitra Pillai is appearing in a never-seen-before avatar in the Prithviraj Sukumaran-starrer.
In an exclusive interview with Filmibeat, Suchitra Pillai opened up about Cold Case, her experiences of working on the project, and her co-stars Prithviraj Sukumaran and Aditi Balan, and much more.
How does it feel to make a comeback to Malayalam cinema with Cold Case?
Very very exciting for me. It's been a while since I've been seen in a film in my mother tongue. And what's really interesting is the topic that Cold Case deals with is just the kind I watch. Every time when I on the TV, that's exactly the genre I watch - crime thriller and supernatural. I was very very excited when I was approached to play Sara.
How did you become a part of Cold Case?
I think director Tanu Balak had seen me in another film and decided this is who I want to play this character, Sara. He must have seen me in this avatar, frankly speaking. So, when he contacted me, he said 'I see you in this character, and you got to do it.
I was very thrilled that somebody with that much confidence was saying I could pull off this character which I haven't played before. I've never played a clairvoyant before. So it was really exciting. When I read the script after that, I was like 'Woohoo this is very nice and eerie'. So I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The teaser and trailer of Cold Case have been trending on social media, and there are different theories doing the rounds regarding the film. What is your take on that?
The audience just needs to know that this film combines thriller, supernatural, crime, and all of that, one very easily blending into the other. There are two parallel stories - one by a cop and one by an investigative journalist about a murder that happens. And that has gone cold basically and comes up again, and we are all in it to find out what has happened.
So, Sara is a kind of character, amongst all these, which is very interesting because she is the kind of person who would know more, thanks to the supernatural element. And what is more interesting is trying to use different techniques to be a very integral part of solving the case. And it was real techniques that I used. So, I was really getting scared with that actually during the process of our shooting, whether we find about some actual killer or something else.
From the glimpses we have seen, it is evident that you are playing a unique character in Cold Case. Can you pls share with us about your role and how did you prepare for it?
Definitely, she is mysterious, she is someone you wouldn't want to meet in a dark room - she might make your hair stand (laughs). She has got that aura - that was one of the points Tanu said when we met for the role. He said that's what I want about her - when you see Sara, there is a mysterious element about her that is unsaid. You don't want to add a gimmick in the background to create that, it just has to be there.
And that is what an actor brings to a character. For something like that, it is what you bring from yourself, and your own aura. And I think it has come across beautifully- even the way the costumes or look of the character was perceived by the team.
When we were doing the movie and I was practicing, my aunt and cousin helped me with the dialogues. It was recorded for me and I started studying them before shooting, and similarly when I went for dubbing. So Tanu was wondering whether I will be able to get that right. When we started shooting in Trivandrum, one day I went to him very sheepishly and said 'I hope you are not using anybody else's voice.' I'm glad that he decided to keep my voice for Sara.
Coming to the preparations, I watched some videos and on clairvoyants and the particular techniques they've used in this film, and also read about it. Also, the team explained to me about it. Even the chants I used are actual chants used by clairvoyants. So, it made it more eerie while shooting. Especially in this particular sequence where I was chanting, my hair was standing (laughs). And in the set, it was only me, Aditi and Ravi Krishnan (the actor who plays my husband). It seemed to me like I called some sort of spirit.
How was it to work with some of the finest actors and technicians of Malayalam cinema?
When I heard about Tanu Balak, people told me about him- this is directorial debut per se, then, of course, Prithviraj Sukumaran I knew, I had watched Aruvi, so I knew who Aditi Balan was. And they said you and Aditi are a part of one side of the story - it is two women. And I have to say, I've made a friend for life when it comes to Aditi. We had such a blast while shooting. She is always open to suggestions, there were no ego clashes or anything. I wish I had scenes with Prithviraj, but since we are part of parallel sides, there are none.
Was it difficult to shoot for the film amidst the pandemic? Did the safety restrictions affect the working experience?
Everybody was apprehensive about the restrictions. But the production company was absolutely spot on when it comes to safety. We did not feel worried at all. Whether it was about social distancing or people wearing masks or not crowding the set, it was wonderful how smoothly they made it. When a unit is so professional, then half of your work is done. This made it simpler.
Cold Case is now skipping theatrical release and is premiering on Amazon Prime Video. What is your take on films getting OTT release amidst pandemic?
Frankly speaking, we have lived in a world where everyone talks about cinema releases. But I think it is now time to wake up to reality. OTT is the new 'IT'. Just imagine, in more than 240 countries Cold Case is going to be released, exactly the same time on the same day. It is huge, the reach is fantastic. As an actor, that's what you want - you want your work to reach the maximum number of people. I think this is the best way to go forward, especially when you have a platform like Amazon Prime Video that really pushes the project rather than just letting it come and go.
What would you like to say to the audiences about Cold Case?
Cold Case is definitely going to be a film that will keep you on the edge of your seats. Please put it on your screens and watch this movie on the 30th because more than anything else, Sara is coming for you (laughs).