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Cricket theme goes on


S.P. Charan’s maiden production bats beyond the realm of the game.

In action S.P Charan

Just a few weeks before Sivaji, a low budget film with an unconventional theme and rank newcomers in the lead was released all over Tamil Nadu. The film not only withstood the onslaught of the magnum opus but is heading for a 100-d ay run. Interestingly, it was produced by S.P. Charan. Does the name ring a bell? Yes. He is the very same Charan who sang his way into the hearts of many a music lover through his melodious numbers in Gangothri and a few other films a nd is also noted singer S.P Balasubrahmanyam’s son.

Charan turned a producer teaming up with childhood friend, Venkat Prabhu, son of popular Tamil lyricist and music director Gangai Amaran. The duo played lead roles too in the film- Unnai Saran Adaindhen. It won critical acclaim. Cha ran remade it in Telugu as Naalo. Perhaps its failure made him think towards mainstream commercial cinema and work on a subject.

“But we found it to be heavy on budget. We wanted to do a film with minimal cost. That is when I remembered as a child playing gully cricket and in the beach and playgrounds. At one stage or other we have all played such sport be it cricket or some other game. The practice is still continuing,” Charan speaks about how the idea for his offbeat venture, Chennai-60028 first took shape. “Slowly the story assembled in bits and pieces in my mind. Two teams from two area s in the city do they extend their play ground rivalry to their homes and personal life too. I told this to Venkat Prabhu. He liked the idea and wrote a complete story out of it. That’s how they got the project started.”

This time Prabhu took the mantle of a director. “He has the potential to become a good filmmaker too. So once we finalised the story, we went scouting for the actors. There is not one but eleven heroes and we needed 22 newcomers to play in two rival teams. It was an uphill task to select the actors. Our only criterion was that they should know how to play cricket. Except our friends– Ajay Raj who played the ambulance driver in the film who is a dance master and Vijay, all the other actors faced the movie camera for the first time in their life. So we gave them two months training before the actual shoot. For the female lead we took Christine, a model and Vijayalakshmi, daughter of noted film director Ahathian,” shares Charan. J.K. Saravana co-produced the film.

A scenes from the movie ‘Kodithe Kottalira’

An interesting aspect is that during the rehearsals, the director allowed his actors to talk what they normally say in such situation, noted the dialogues and polished them and gave it back to them to say during the shoot. “That’s why the emotions and the dialogue look so real while you watch the movie. Some people were saying that we derived inspiration from Lagaan. It is not so. Our film goes beyond the boundary line. It touches their family life and the emotional uph eavals, in its subtleties. Perhaps we won on this score. Yuvan Shankar Raja’s music helped shape the film better” opines Charan.

Chennai-600 028’s thrilling climax contributed to the film’s success. “The tempo matches the World Cup final,” commented a film critic. The film is now being dubbed into Telugu by Peoples’ Cine Entertainme nts and producer Almon Raj as Kodithe Kottalira. “It is a new backdrop for Telugu audience. From 6 to 36 you find the life style of these age groups in the film besides cricket. We are confident that our audience too likes this f ilm,” says Almon Raj.

Charan agrees with him. “Since it is an urban subject it is universal in nature and can be taken to any language any region. People can easily identify with the characters.”

The topic changes to his singing career. An MBA from USA, is he more inclined towards a business career than singing? He laughs it off saying, “not that I am not concentrating on my singing career. But opportunities are not coming my way despite giving some hit numbers in Telugu like say in Gangothri where all the three songs I rendered – Oka Thotalo with Malavika, Railu Bandi with Sri Vardhini and Ganga with Suni tha were big hits.”

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