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A sports flick

y. sunita chowdhary
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interview Director Arivazhagam Venkatachalam deals with the issue of status of sports in his next flick

time outon the sets of ‘Vallinam’
time outon the sets of ‘Vallinam’

After watching the highly engrossing horror film Vaishali (Eeram ), everyone waited for director Arivazhagan Venkatachalam’s second venture to take off but he took two years to bring his project to shape. Vallinam (means a strong team in Tamil) is releasing in Telugu as well but it is yet to be titled. Starring Nakul (actor Devayani’s brother) and Mrudhula Bhaskar, it has an interesting theme involving love, friendship, social awareness and a game of basket ball. The director says, “It is a hero centric movie — for him sport is life and the heroine is sportive about her life. It is not the clash of characters, it revolves around a game, and not just basket ball. We show how games are important to our life and by the end of the film, you will identify the current position of sports in Indian society. The story which begins on a fun mode progresses towards social awareness and exposes the real, exact politics behind the game.”

From horror to sports? How did he move to a different genre altogether and what makes this story different from other films based on sport like Chak De or Bheemli Kabbadi Jattu ? The director has an instantaneous answer, “Wasn’t Vaishali markedly different from the horror films we regularly see, this one too will keep the interest alive. The story doesn’t move on a regular format, after interval it is a different story. Here the basket ball game will be pitched against another sport. A thriller is just one of my favourite genres but not my genre. When I want to make a film, I first decide the genre and what kind of audience I am going to target and then I get very clear with my script and characters.”

The director says he had watched umpteen interviews of sportsmen and every time he could sense the expectation of the crowd from them and the sports person’s ambition to perform and live up to their expectations. Siddhu Jonnalagadda of LBW plays the antagonist. The climax was set up at a court created for the film that cost one and a half crore. “People asked why I took Nakul, who’s not very tall — a prerequisite for a basket ball player. But statistics show that all international basket ball teams balance their teams with short people too. He has great energy and I extracted what all I needed from him.”

y. sunita chowdhary


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