South superstar Pranitha Subhash is all set to make her Bollywood debut with two releases – Hungama 2 and Bhuj – in a span of two weeks. The films were to be theatrical releases, but both ended up on OTT because of the pandemic. The actress has been working throughout the pandemic to help Covid-affected people.
Speaking about the challenges faced while providing aid to those in need, Pranitha said, “In the first year of the pandemic, it was easier. We could do the ration, the DBTs, and focus on all sorts of needs because it was still in nascent stage, and we could step out and help. But, the scenario changed in the second year of the pandemic. This wave hit differently and it was all about oxygen concentrators this time. It was all about helping people in a more targeted way. We had to really know what their need was. Suddenly a lot of people were on ventilators. People were calling each other for oxygen cylinders and hospital beds. It had gone kind of crazy. The entire need that we had to fulfil was different this time. I am glad that we were able to do this much during this pandemic.”
But wasn’t it difficult for her to bear the expenses of the charity work? “We did an online fundraiser. I had a media house that helped me promote. It’s called Efforts For Good, They gave me their platform to promote our fundraiser. I think it was nice of people to come forward and donate because everyone realised that the daily wagers were severely impacted. The best part about fundraisers is that even a little contribution goes a long way. With that, we were able to mobilise funds in different ways. That really helped us,” said Pranitha.
From fellow Indians in need of Covid-help to street dogs, she has been serving all selflessly. Talking about it Pranitha said, “There was not enough food. Restaurants were shut. There were different verticals that we tried helped out with. Giving food to the stray dogs was one of the verticals along with several other.”
During the Covid-19 period, Pranitha has also been vocal about insurance companies are not covering the mental health issues, which are on the rise amid the pandemic. “The best part about media is that you are able to amplify what we are saying. All the actors should be thankful for that. Mental health, as we all know, is the need of the hour, because everyone is going through a lot right now. And many aren’t able to share their problems with others. People are going through financial crisis; some have lost their jobs. I recently realised that mental health issues don’t come under insurance. Though many companies are saying they are working towards including them. I feel by starting conversations around this topic policy-makers will take a note of the problem. In the West, it is covered. That is why people are open to going and getting treatment. Here it is still blurred lines and stigma. In fact, mental health not even being considered under insurance is adding to the taboo. It adds to people not wanting to go out and seeking professional help at a time like this,” said the Hungama 2 actor.
Pranitha got hitched to Nitin Raju amid the pandemic, of course, following all the Covid protocols. When asked why she kept the grandest day of her life in such hush hush tones, she said, “It was Covid everywhere, so that was the reason (why we kept it hush hush). Covid has its own rules, right? The number of people and invitees, and then there are varied other Covid protocols as well. That’s the reason why we decided to keep it low-key.”
Pranitha reveals life has not changed much after the wedding because she has been busy with the promotions of her two films. But does she regret that her movies have skipped theatrics releases?
“Definitely, I am bummed out. Whether it is me or the production house, Venus (Hungama 2), who have been there for so long – it’s everyone (who is bummed out). There has been an era where there was nothing like OTT. I am sure we all believe in theatres and the grandeur and the magnitude comes with it. For someone who comes from the south, it’s like a festival with firecrackers and 4 am releases. By the time you wake up by 7 am the reviews are already out. I really wanted that. That is when you actually feel that it is a release. We all were definitely looking forward to that. That is probably why the film’s team waited for so long to release it this year. They wanted to release in theatres, but the second wave played spoilt sport and hence they decided to go ahead with OTT. In fact, the last time I spoke to the makers, they were still thinking of a theatrical release. It is a film to be watched in the theatres. Even Bhuj, to be honest. One is an action film, so it is nice to watch on a big screen, the other one is a comedy, so you should watch it with everyone. Both the films are theatre films, but I guess we have to go with the flow," said Pranitha.
Pranitha also opines how actresses these days are getting a lot meatier role on OTT and audiences love it as well. “Actresses are no more an accessory. It’s more like somebody who is carrying the entire film or series on her back. Look at something like a Family Man 2. The best part about OTT is that you can be there for just 5 minutes and still make a mark. Somehow the audiences remember you. It has given the girls a big boost,” concludes Pranitha.