Several attempts may have been made to portray the life and times of slain LTTE Supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran on celluloid, but none of them succeeded.
Young filmmaker Venkatesh Kumar takes up the challenge now after having made films like Unakkul Naan, Neelam and Lightman. Produced by Studio 18, the biopic is expected to show the life history of the LTTE supremo in the most realistic manner possible.
When Venkatesh was contacted, he was a bit reluctant to open up as he wanted to complete the film and then talk rather than getting stuck half way through the project. He justifies himself saying, “My past experience with my earlier film Neelam has taught me to be cautious.”
However, when we prod him, he did reveal a bit. His film Neelam based on the Sri Lankan civil war was denied a certificate by CBFC. “Neelam is about the rise and fall of rebel groups in Sri Lanka and also traces how the civil war broke out. And when I sent it to the tribunal, they also refused. They feared that the film might jeopardise the relationship between the two countries. That was the actual reason for me to start a film on Velupillai Prabhakaran. They only object to taking a film on the civil war, but I think I have the freedom to chronicle Prabhakaran's personal life,” asserts Venkatesh who is a student of the late cinematographer and filmmaker Balu Mahendra.
It is an open secret that Prabhakaran had spent considerable time in Vedharanyam, Madurai, Kodambakkam and in a hotel in Nugambakkam with the knowledge of those who ruled the state then. All this will be touched upon, Venkatesh adds.
The story may start right from Velupillai's birth and focus on him from the age of 7 and then chronicle his life as a militant. “He made the world turn and look at him for his deeds for a cause. I did thorough research for close to 8 years on him and his life even before starting Neelam. There’s a long history for me with Sri Lanka, which I will let out at an appropriate time.”
Do you anticipate any problem with censor for your new film, we ask and he smiles. “Let me just complete the film. It is a pucca commercial feature film and see how it goes. I have alternative ideas for its release,” Venkatesh says in signing off!...