Choo Mandhirakaali, the upcoming Tamil film, written and directed by debutant filmmaker Eswar Kotravai, is a fantasy comedy film based on magical realism, the director said in a conversation with Silverscreen India.
Speaking more about the film, Eswar said, “Magical realism, as a genre, is not touched upon by many filmmakers in the Tamil industry. I have infused elements of magical realism in the film, by portraying traditional black magic. In the film, there is a community of people are engaged in doing black magic. In fact, the village the heroine comes from, is renowned for this. The premise of the film is that the hero decides to use black magic itself to teach a lesson to the community that indulges in it. At the same time, the villagers are also up in arms against separating him from his love interest. The film is set against a fictional village called Singapore and we have not debated if black magic is good or bad.”
Eswar, who is a former associate of director Sarkunam, said that he had wanted to bring the magical realism genre to Tamil cinema since it has a rooted connection to Tamil culture.
“My native is a village in Salem, which is a lot like the one shown in this film. I took inspiration from there and visited several places that does black magic. After taking references, I scripted the film in 2016. The project was supposed to take off then, but due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to postpone,” he added. The film went on floors in early 2019 and was wrapped up in November that year.
Debutants Karthikeyan Velu and Sanjana Burli are the lead actors. “I am a fan of Prabhu Deva and I came across a YouTube video of Karthikeyan’s dance video to Prabhu Deva’s song. We connected over our mutual admiration of him, and we did a short film in 2013. Later when this film took off, we collaborated again,” Eswar said.
He mentioned, “Apart from them, we have roped in theatre artists from MR Nadaga Mandram theatre group in Dharmapuri. Most of them are street theatre artists, about 50 of them, who form 60% of the cast. We need them for flawless acting because while doing a film with newcomers, there are chances that the performance may not up to the mark.”
The film was also shot in Dharmapuri. According to the director, the post-production works are completed and the makers are looking to release the film in theatres by the end of September or October. The film is yet to be censored and its runtime is two hours and seven minutes.