It took nine years for Su. Venkatesan to complete his maiden novel. But within a year of its publication, ‘Kaavalkottam' has become the source for a period film.

‘Aravaan', the next venture of director Vasanthabalan of ‘Angadi Theru' fame, is based on one of the many stories that were part of the mega novel published in 2009. The director, who comes from the ‘director Shankar school', made a mark with ‘Veyil', which received accolades both in India and abroad.

“I was more than happy when Vasanthabalan asked me if he could make a film based on the book. We held discussions for 6 months and decided on the story,” says Mr. Venkatesan, who has also written the story and dialogues for the film.

The novel tracing the over 600 years' history of Madurai, beginning with the conquest of the ancient city by Malik Kafur, focuses on the unique security system and guards at Madurai Fort. The British, keen on expanding the city, dismantled the security system, suppressed the revolt of the guards, settled them in the Gudalur-Cumbum areas and finally declared them as a criminal tribe. The 1000-odd page novel has hundreds of stories between the covers dealing with the history of these people

Story of an Aravaan

There were Aravaans among the security guards, so called after Aravaan, the son of Arjuna, who sacrificed himself before Goddess Kali for the victory of the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra war in Mahabharata. The story revolves around one such Aravaan. Mr. Venkatesan says he has already completed the task assigned to him.

“It is a challenge because it is a whole new world. But I am fully comfortable with Mr. Vasanthabalan, a keen follower of Tamil literary trends, who has worked with various Tamil writers such as Sujatha, S. Ramakrishnan and Jayamohan,” says Mr. Venkatesan, a member of the executive committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Madurai unit. He is also the deputy general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers Association.

“Even in my novel I tried to create a visual impact through the narration. So it was not difficult for me to pen a story suitable for a film,” Mr. Venkatesan says responding to the question on how he was able to write the script for the film based on an 18th century story.

The action-based story will be racy and gripping, says Mr. Vasanthabalan. The award-winning director makes sure he handles a different genre in every movie and this film will be no different.

On casting, he says Aadhi has a gigantic personality, which aptly suits the character of the movie. “Pasupathi has always been my favourite since Veyil,'”he says. Singer Karthik will make a debut as a music director, composing a good number of folk-based numbers

Parts of the film are likely to be shot in some interior parts of Andhra Pradesh, where the director is currently said to be looking for apt locations. A good part of the shoot is likely to be held in areas around Madurai, sources said.

(With inputs from S. Aishwarya)

Keywords: Tamil cinema