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Director Chandra Thangaraj: Kallan is not a caste film- Cinema express

Director Chandra Thangaraj: Kallan is not a caste film

The debut filmmaker talks about her crime drama starring Karu Pazhaniappan in the lead 

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Published: 15th December 2021
Director Chandra Thangaraj: Kallan is not a caste film

With her debut film, Kallan, writer-turned-filmmaker Chandra Thangaraj hopes to break prejudices in the film industry over women directors. Kallan, a period gangster drama starring Karu Pazhaniappan in the lead, is an action film full of violence, she shares. “I am a big fan of Quentin Tarantino, and my film will satisfy audiences who enjoy brutality," she says.

Chandra goes on to reveal that the film is a fictionalised take on real-life events she witnessed growing up in a small village in Theni. "My neighbours were hunters, and their livelihood was destroyed when the government banned hunting. My lead goes through a similar situation, and he is forced into robbery to survive. Eventually, darkness takes over him and he turns into a dreaded criminal. I believe that the screenplay is fresh and unique; I don’t think people have seen anything like this before."

The lockdown, according to her, turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the film, as the team used the time to improvise the screenplay. “I completely re-edited the film and should thank Vetri Maaran sir for giving us a much-needed push. He saw an earlier version of the film and suggested that we trim the length. He also praised us and said that the last 30 minutes were daring and unpredictable.”

Chandra has been travelling with this film for over a decade and shares that the wait was harder than she imagined. "It took me close to four years to find a producer. I have narrated this script to more than 50 producers before meeting Madhiazhagan sir. Having seen the final cut of the film, I feel all the pain and tears is worth it."

Addressing the controversy surrounding the film's title and its potential reference to a community, Chandra clarifies, "Kallan stands for a robber, nothing else. My film isn't about caste and is not focused on any community. For some reason, Pazhaniappan sir, producer Mathiazhagan and I have been receiving threats. Why should I change the title when I have just used a normal Tamil word? Even government records state that the term 'Kallar' stands for the caste and not the word, 'Kallan'. It is saddening that a creator is being policed by external parties when there is a censor board in place."

Also starring Nikita, Maya Soundararaja and Namo Narayanan, Kallan is planned for a release on January 26. The film has music by K and cinematography by MS Prabu and Gopijegatheeswaran.

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