‘Vaadivasal’, a novel by late writer C.S. Chellappa, is being made into a film by national-award winning director Vetrimaran and he has entered into an agreement with Kalachuvadu, the publisher of the novel and C. Subramanian, the son of Chellappa.
The novel is about jallikattu, an ancient Tamil sport, and the taming of the bull ‘Kaari’ by Picchi, whose father Ambulithevan was gored to death by the bull.
Vetrimaran, who earlier made writer Poomani’s novel ‘Vekkai’ into the award-winning Dhanush-starrer Asuran , has roped in Suriya for the lead role in the film. “I think this is the first time a proper legal agreement is reached between a publishing house and a film director,” said Kannan Sundaram of the Kalachuvadu, who secured the rights from the family of Chellappa.
The novel was serialised in Ezhuthu , a literary magazine run by Chellappa, before its publication as a book. “We got the rights in 2001 and the novel has run into 26 editions so far. The protest that took place on the Marina in support of jallikattu also contributed in a big way to its popularity,” said Mr. Kannan.
Chellappa, who had a passion for bullfighting, developed an interest in jallikattu when he was in Vathalakundu in Dindigul district. “His maternal uncle had introduced him to the game, and he became hooked to it. He collected every detail of the sport, the life of bull-tamers and how the bulls were reared,” recalled his son Subramanian.
He photographed jallikkatu and kept hundreds of photographs. “After publishing the novel, he distributed it as a gift to those who subscribed to Ezhuthu magazine,” said Mr. Subramanian.
N. Kalyanaraman translated it into English, and it was published with the title ‘Arena’ by the Oxford University Press.
Besides the novel, Chellappa had written a few short stories on the subjects of bull-rearing and racing.
‘Koodusalai’ is about bullock-cart racing and ‘Pendilanthan’ tells the story about the art of identifying good animals by the curls on their skin.
Writer Aravindan, who facilitated the negotiations for the agreement, said though Tamil society celebrated jallikattu and took pride in the sport, there were not many literary works that dealt with the subject except ‘Vaadivasal’.
Mr. Subramanian expressed the hope that Mr. Vetrimaran would do justice to the novel and the film would turn out to be a great success.