Finals is a story that needs to be told: Arun PR
Debutant Arun PR talks about directing the upcoming sports drama which has Rajisha Vijayan playing a cycling enthusiast dreaming of making it to the Olympics
Among the upcoming Onam releases is a sports drama called Finals, starring Rajisha Vijayan, Niranj, and helmed by newcomer Arun PR. A former theatre director, Arun had worked with Rajisha in his play Hand of God. Finals, his debut feature, is produced by Maniyanpillai Raju and S Prajeev, and has Rajisha playing a cycling enthusiast from Kattappana dreaming of making it to the Olympics.
Considering the film’s small budget, Arun and his team went about planning systematically to control the costs. In fact, they finished it ahead of schedule. “The direction team comprised of mostly my friends back from my theatre days, so communication was very easy. And Raju chettan (Maniyanpilla Raju) likes everything to go like clockwork. Since we took a lot of care with the pre-production, the shoot went smoothly,” says Arun.
The film, he says, is primarily an emotional family drama, and most of its important segments take place at the characters’ home. It took Arun some effort to find the right house. He had scripted the story around a decade ago. The major turning point, he says, was meeting Maniyanpilla Raju.
Another encouraging factor was Suraj Venjaramoodu, who plays Rajisha’s father in the film. “Suraj used to call me frequently and jokingly tell me that I need to go out there and make a film instead of being stuck with plays. Everyone in my friend circle knew the film’s story by heart. Since Rajisha had already been part of my play, I called her as soon as Raju chettan said yes to it. She was very adamant about playing Alice.”
On the impulse that drove him to do the film, Arun says, “It’s a story that needs to be told. I wanted it to be out there, and I wanted everyone in Kerala to see it. The situation of every sport here, besides cricket, is pathetic. We clap and cry when we see a film like Chak De, but the reality is that when a hockey match is happening somewhere in Kerala, we don’t go and see it. We don’t watch it on TV either. It’s a hypocritical attitude.”
He adds that though there are a lot of stories waiting to be told in the sports genre, the predictability factor is a big problem. “When you look at most of the popular sports films, which are usually underdog stories, there is a specific template. There are some stereotypical aspects, like a strict coach, and how the entire system is against the protagonists and all that. And if this coach is played by a star, then it’s usually he who facilitates the team’s win. Chak De is a perfect example of this.”
He tells us that the film’s main highlight is the combination of scenes of Rajisha and Suraj. And since cycling is a high-speed sport, Rajisha had to undergo vigorous training to get into the skin of the character.
The film is the result of the numerous conversations Arun had with the natives of Kattappana and Idukki. “When you go to these places, you don’t see a cycle or scooter in any homes because a cycle costs a lakh or more. If they had that kind of money, the parents would buy their children one. Only those who could afford it were able to take part in the Commonwealth games. When I discussed my film’s idea with them, they were happy because they hope the film will fetch mainstream attention to the sport. Whether I’ve been successful in translating everything onto the screen or not, that’s for the audience to decide,” he signs off.