Both cinematographer-director Santosh Sivan and Vicky Donor director Shoojit Sircar are all set to make epic dramas on the Sri Lankan Liberation Tigers Of Tamil Eelam LTTE struggle for separatism. It also seems that the two hard-hitting political films may take off at the same time.
“The subject of my film, titled Ceylon, has been on my mind for many years. I made The Terrorist 13 years ago, which was also about the LTTE. However, in Ceylon, I want to look at the Sri Lankan situation from the perspective of a bunch of youngsters who get caught in the crisis. It’s more about an outsider’s response to the horrors than about the politics itself. The cast will be new and we’ll shoot the film in Sri Lanka,” says Sivan.
Sircar, whose film on the LTTE is titled Jaffna, stars John Abraham. “The film will not dilute the LTTE issue. There is no point in taking up a theme and not going all the way with it. It would be as self-defeating as making a film on sperm donation (Vicky Donor) without any mention of sperms or sex,” he says.
Sircar says his film will feature well-known political personalities from the LTTE episodes in Indian history, including LTTE founder Prabhakaran. “We’re casting lookalikes for all personalities, including Prabhakaran.”
John plays a fictional character in Jaffna. While Sivan will shoot his entire film in Sri Lanka, Sircar will shoot most of his film in South India. Sircar says, “I may sneak into Sri Lanka to shoot a bit in the city of Jaffna, which is in shambles. I don’t think I can get the same spirit of devastation in another location, but I will shoot most of my film in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. I can’t take any risks with John around.”
He says the clash with Sivan’s film is not a big deal. “I really admire Santosh’s work, but we’re two different individuals and artistes. He shoots his own films which is an added advantage. The way he will look at Sri Lanka will be completely different from the way my cameraman Kamal Negi will look at it. I want to revisit the peak of the LTTE movement 1984-85 onwards.”
Sivan, on the other hand, says he will shoot in Sri Lanka after the rains. “I don’t want Ceylon to look like a tourist attraction. I want to go beyond the obvious.”