Ananth Mahadevan Takes on a Challenging Role in “Yes Papa”


Delving into the dark themes of familial abuse, actor Ananth Mahadevan has recently brought to life a character that casts a shadow on the portrayal of father figures in cinema. In a compelling representation of a sexually abusive father in the film “Yes Papa,” directed by Saif Hyder Hasan, Mahadevan shared insights into his journey of playing a role that many actors would hesitate to accept.

Ananth Mahadevan, an actor with a considerable body of work, faced his latest challenge in an especially difficult role. With a narrative that encircles sensitive subjects, the film “Yes Papa” places Mahadevan in the shoes of a character that embodies a terrifying reality— a sexually abusive father. This role called for an exploration of the shadowy corners of human behavior, a task Mahadevan approached with a mix of trepidation and determination.

As the senior actor stepped into this daunting role, he was fully aware of the emotional upheaval it entailed. “I am told many actors let go of the part. It’s eerie to play such a character. But as an actor, it’s your job to look for challenges,” Mahadevan stated. It was not just the complexity of the character that drew him to this project, but a stronger impulse to bring an oft-ignored issue into the limelight. Overcoming his initial fear, Mahadevan embraced the role with a sense of purpose, acknowledging, “To some extent, the role scared me, but [you overcome it].”

The portrayal of the abusive father was exceptionally sensitive, handled with care to avoid explicit depictions of abuse. This tactful approach allowed the audience to fully grasp the gravity of the subject matter without the need for graphic scenes. Mahadevan credits this to the director’s vision, “The reason why I could pull off the four scenes that depict abuse is because the director handled them sensitively. The idea and intention wasn’t to entice. The abuse is never depicted; you leave it to the audience to understand.”

Mainstream cinema seldom ventures into subject matter as uncomfortable and critical as this. Through “Yes Papa,” the actors and creators sought to project a deeper societal truth, demonstrating that individuals perceived as ordinary can be capable of monstrous acts. Mahadevan discusses the challenge of breaking away from stereotypes, “We had to fight stereotyping. The character is soft-spoken, sings and doesn’t look menacing. He is your typical man-next-door. We tried to give him touches of a regular man who is capable of monstrous things.” This subtle portrayal was achieved through nuanced acting and deliberate character development, skirting the trope of overtly villainous appearances for the malefactor.

“Yes Papa” also stars Geetika Tyagi, whose performance alongside Mahadevan contributes significantly to the film’s impact. The film was recognized for its import and screened for the National Human Rights Commission, signaling its resonance with crucial social themes and human rights discourse.

Mahadevan’s commitment to the project was deeply rooted in the need for social awareness and discourse on the issue of familial abuse. He faced the character head-on with a non-judgmental approach and an honesty that shaped a powerful and thought-provoking narrative. From script to screen, every element was orchestrated to create an environment in which such a story could be told with dignity and purpose.

The actor’s involvement in “Yes Papa” solidified his standing as a performer unafraid to explore the uncharted territories of human behavior. His portrayal stands as a testament to the ability of cinema to confront social evils and empower conversations about the darkest aspects of human interaction. It is an unsettling reminder that the face of abuse may be unsettlingly familiar, disguised in the banality of everyday life.

“Yes Papa” stands not only as a piece of cinematic storytelling but also as a platform that propels the issue of sexual abuse within families to the forefront. It suggests the necessity for vigilance in a world where appearances can be deceiving and the monstrous can be hidden behind a mask of normalcy. Ananth Mahadevan’s performance, under the sensitive direction of Saif Hyder Hasan, illuminates the grim reality of abuse, subsequently inviting introspection on a societal level and adding a poignant chapter to the discourse of human rights in the realms of art and reality.

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