Film on St. Thomas planned

K. A. Martin

Rs.30-crore venture by Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore

Chief Minister will inaugurate the work on July 3

It will initially be made in Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi

KOCHI: With Hollywood epics such as Ben-Hur and the Ten Commandments in mind and with a budget to match, the Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore will produce a Rs.30-crore silver screen version of the life and ministry of St. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles who is believed to have spread the message of Christ in India.

Work on the 70mm, two-and-a-half-hour feature film with Hollywood collaboration and with the bigwigs of the Indian film industry on the credit line, will be inaugurated by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on July 3, the feast day of St. Thomas, on the Santhome Basilica premises in Chennai, Archbishop A.M. Chinnappa told The Hindu here.

He was leading a delegation, comprising former Member of Parliament Earnest Paul and film’s research leader Father Paulraj Lourdusamy, to make a presentation on the project before the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) on Tuesday.

The project is backed by Ivan Cardinal Dias, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of Faith and the bishops’ community in Tamil Nadu, the Archbishop said in his presentation to the council.

Message of peace

St. Thomas was the apostle to India, and his tomb is a destination for people of all religious affiliations, said the Archbishop. The film would have at its core the message of peace and harmony among people of all beliefs.

The film has special significance for Kerala and Tamil Nadu where St. Thomas spent a major portion of his time in India. He is believed to have established seven churches in Kerala before being martyred in 72 AD at Mylapore.

Films such as Arunachalam of Thiruvannamalai and Annai Velanganni have offered the people had the effect of people receiving spiritual consolation, said the Archbishop.

He felt a film on the life of St. Thomas would have a similar effect, as it evolved around the theme of equality and dignity for all people.

Father Lourdusamy said the film would initially be made in Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi, and later dubbed into other languages such as English and French.

Shooting in December

The shooting will begin at various locations in December this year and end in 12 months.