A Hollywood film dialogue piqued director’s curiosity

‘Have you ever heard of a man named Ramanujan?’ Prof. Gerald Lambeau, played by Stellan Skarsgard, poses the question to Dr. Sean Maguire, played by Robin Williams, in the Oscar-winning film ‘Good Will Hunting,’ and goes on to explain the genius of Ramanujan. This was the starting point for national award-winning director Gnana Rajasekaran’s biopic ‘Ramanujan’.

“My daughter, who was watching the movie, mentioned that a popular Hollywood film had mentioned Ramanujan so casually. I was shocked that his fame had travelled so far, yet, very little was known about him here,” says the director.

This is not Rajasekaran’s first biopic. He has earlier made films on the lives of Tamil poet Bharati (in 2000) and political leader Periyar (in 2007). But, he says, the challenge this time around is a lot tougher.

“The mathematical genius of Ramanujan is beyond the grasp of even the well-educated. So, making this film about him presents a unique challenge. But I am happy with the outcome. Let the audience decide for themselves when the film releases,” the director says.

The film stars Abhinay Vaddi, grandson of legendary film couple Gemini Ganesan-Savithri, in the role of Ramanujan. It is being produced by Camphor Films, an independent production company co-founded by Srivatsan Nadathur, Sushant Desai, Sharanyan Nadathur and Sindhu Rajasekaran, and is set for release in May.

Tinsel town has always been associated with endorsement of products. But there are actors who champion social causes too. And actor Karthi is one of them. Cause ambassador for the Lysosomal Storage Disorder Support Society, Karthi has been involved in creating awareness about the group of rare genetic disorders from 2011.

After donating the cash prize of around Rs. 12 lakh which he won in the game show ‘Neengalum Vellalam Oru Kodi’ — hosted by his brother, actor Suriya — to the Society, he donated Rs. 5 lakh more for the treatment of children affected by the disorder on Thursday.

To take the awareness a step further, he plans to make a short film on the disorder. “On my part, I can show this film prior to the screening of my movies. As of now, I am trying to collect materials and information for shooting the film,” he says.

It’s election time and Shahrukh’s got great play this time. Before you jump to conclusions, Shahrukh’s not the star we know, but a goat who is also a star. This Shahrukh is the protagonist of director Janaki Vishwanathan’s new film, ‘Yeh Hai Bakrapur’, and now, you can even help him choose the PM.

The award-winning director (remember the film, ‘Kutty’?) says the team decided to utilise the opportunity provided by the elections to showcase their socio-political satire. ‘Kaun Banega PM?’ is an app launched in the run-up to the release of the film in April. “We aren’t the first to do it; several big films have launched apps to coincide with their launches. But we wanted something innovative to engage the audience.” With the big question in India being ‘Who will be the next Prime Minister?’ an app based on voting for the PM seemed an obvious choice.

At the moment, the app, available only on the Android platform on Play Store (though plans are afoot to take it across operating systems), lets users play the game and help Shahrukh choose the right leader by voting for a favourite candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Selecting the candidate of your party gives you a power boost and extra points, but selecting the symbols and candidates of other parties will give you negative points. “We’ve put in as many parties as possible, to be fair,” says Janaki. Psst, when we checked last, Narendra Modi was leading the pack with a total of 70,459 votes, tailed by Rahul Gandhi at 60,811 votes.

The film revolves around a set of circumstances that attach to a rumour that Shahrukh the goat has divine powers. As the film describes itself, “It is primarily a hilarious take on the complex belief systems in our society and the conflicts that ensue thereon.”

(By Karthik Subramanian, Serana Josephine M. and Ramya Kannan)

The article has been corrected for a factual error. Rajasekaran had directed biopic on political leader Periyar and not Kamaraj as mentioned earlier.

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