Producer-actor Ritika Anand on JL50: ‘Parts of our hearts broke when we decided on OTT release’

Ritika Anand, who plays a pilot in JL50 and also makes her production debut with the project, talks about conception of the desi sci-fi, the change from theatrical to digital release and more in an exclusive interview.
Actor Ritika Anand makes her production debut with JL50.
Actor Ritika Anand makes her production debut with JL50.
Published on Sep 11, 2020 09:08 PM IST
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BySweta Kaushal

Actor Ritika Anand, who makes her production debut with web series JL50, has said the Abhay Deol starrer was made with an aim to create a very desi, Indian science-fiction film and create a genre, different from how the west makes science fiction films.

Ritika plays a pilot in the series that was originally made as a film with Abhay Deol, Panja Kapur and Piyush Mishra essaying the lead roles. JL50 finally released on Sony Liv last week and has received wide critical acclaim. Crediting her writer-director for the concept of fusion between science fiction and Indian mythology, Ritika said in an interview with Hindustan Times, “The concept is all his (Shailendra Vyas) - I only told him that I wanted a sci-fi and a very desi one at that.”

Elaborating on the idea of introducing Emperor Ashoka to the concept, Ritika said, “There was a point in the story where he (Shailendra) wanted to associate Indian mythology but we could not think of anything. He wanted to bring this aspect because we believed people can identify with the film as their own and feel a sense of pride if we bring in some Indian-ness to the concept. While researching, I came across a few lines about emperor Ashoka and I told him about it. He found a way to fit it into the story in the right manner.The way he has presented this is all his vision.” 


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Asked about her response when JL50 was slated for an OTT release, Ritika said, “I wish the whole planet could time travel and get rid of this pandemic. With the pandemic adding to it all, every filmmaker can now share the stage with the bigwigs and that is a great thing to happen. I am grateful it is releasing now. I am relieved of that pressure - where the weekend ticket collection decides whether I have made a good film. Theatrical releases are like having your school exam results displayed on the notice board for everyone to see while OTT is like receiving that result in your personal email.”

JL50 was originally made as a film four years ago and was recently released as a web series.  “Parts of the entire crew’s hearts broke when we had to release it on OTT because it was made as a  film but given the circumstances, it was the best decision to release it on online,” she added.

Also read: JL50 review: Abhay Deol, Pankaj Kapur’s sci-fi mystery gets a smooth landing

Ritika also elaborated on a possibility of a sequel and said, “When we wrote it, we wanted to leave it open ended as we are taking this bold step of introducing desi sci-fi. why not end it on a note where if someone wants to take it up - a prequel or sequel can be built. Now with all the responses, that can be thought about, this time it will be written and conceived as a series. That end was created with this to keep the possibility open.” 

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