Sundeep Kishan, star of the Telugu sports film, A1 Express, unveiled the first look of the movie on social media on Saturday.
The film, a partial remake of the 2019 Tamil film Natpe Thunai, marks the first ever Telugu hockey film, said Kishan.
Speaking to Silverscreen India, Kishan said that he plays a character who becomes a hockey player due to circumstance. “It is a very interesting role for me because a major transformation is required in both portions of the film for my character. That was something really exciting,” he said.
The film is a partial remake of Natpe Thunai, which was helmed by Parthiban Desingu and starred Adhi, Anagha and Karu Pazhaniappan in the lead. Natpe Thunai was about a former international hockey player who has to help a local team save their ground. He trains them to win a match against the Pondicherry team.
A1 Express has the same core idea but the treatment is different from Natpe Thunai, said Kishan. “The emotion, the vibe, and the mood of the film will be similar. But that apart, in terms of treatment it is a completely different film. Almost 50% of the script and treatment is completely different,” he said. Kishan said that Adhi and Jeeva from the Natpe Thunai team had been very supportive .
A1 Express, directed by Dennis Jeevan Kanukolanu, is Kishan’s twenty-fifth film. Kishan has said that A1 Express would the most ambitious films he has worked on till date.
Talking about why he chose to do A1 Express, he said, “I have done a lot of films and I wanted to do something I have never done before. The only time I did something close to a sports film was in my Hindi film Shor in the City, where I payed a cricketer. But that also did not go too much into the sport.”
The script was originally written for a boxing film. “We were working on it and at that point someone chanced upon Natpe Thunai and showed it to us and we were like this is the kind of film we want to make. Hockey is a sport that nobody has seen before – it is a first for Telugu films,” he said.
Kishan had to practice hockey for six months before shooting for the film.
After the Covid-19 pandemic, the team did not get permission to shoot at any stadiums. “For this film, for the transformation, I had lost a lot of weight and I had to maintain it. All the actors had to stay in touch with hockey as a sport. We couldn’t even go practice anywhere because the stadiums were shut. We had to create a place for us which had a marble flooring and we practiced the basics there,” he said.
According to Kishan, the film will most likely release in theatres in February or March this year.
“Vivaha Bhojanambu was an OTT film. The content will work on OTT. A1 Express is a theatrical experience. It is a sports film. You need the auditorium cheering when there is a goal and they should be sad when somebody falls down or there is a foul. Sports films are very interactive,” he said.
A1 Express stars Lavanya Tripathi in the lead and also features Rao Ramesh, Murali Sharma, Posani Krishna Murali, Priyadarshi, Satya, Mahesh Vitta and Parvateesham in prominent roles.
TG Vishwa Prasad, Abhishek Aggarwal, Sundeep Kishan and Daya Pannem are jointly producing it under People Media Factory, Abhishek Agarwal Arts, and Venkatadri Talkies banners.
Hiphop Tamizha, who starred in Natpe Thunai, has scored the music for A1 Express. Kavin Raj has done the camerawork and Chota K Prasad has done the editing.