Days after the release of his 25th film Kaatru Veliyidai, Mani Ratnam has released a statement regarding the jail break scene in the film. The scene was panned by critics for its lack of authenticity and deemed amateurish. The statement specifically addresses the origin of the scene where the hero, VC (played by Karthi), an Indian Air Force pilot, is seen escaping from the Rawalpindi prison by digging a tunnel.
Calling it a “catastrophe” that was turned into an “adventure”, Ratnam admits that the scene, while too good to be true, was indeed inspired by real events.
“When Flight Lieutenant Dilip Parulkar was shot down over Pakistan on 10 December, 1971, he quickly turned that catastrophe into the greatest adventure of his life. On 13 August 1972 Parulkar, along with Malvinder Singh Grewal and Harish Sinhji escaped from a POW camp in Rawalpindi. Four Miles To Freedom is their story,” reads the statement.
Four Miles To Freedom is written by Faith Johnston and depicts the story of those lieutenants’ escape.
“Kaatru Veliyidai borrows incidents from this book. Most of what Karthi and his friends do to escape are from real incidents. So, this should put an end to people who question the authenticity of this sequence and the confusion surrounding this sequence,” reads the statement.
The retail website Amazon also carries a sample chapter from the book, describing the events that surrounded the escape.
Madras Talkies, the entertainment company run by Mani Ratnam, released a similar statement on Facebook along with a snapshot of VC’s escape in the film.
The Facebook post:
Kaatru Veliyidai stars Karthi, Aditi Rao Hydari, Shraddha Srinath, Delhi Ganesh, RJ Balaji, and KPAC Lalitha. The film released on 7 April to mixed reaction from audience members and reviewers. Some called it a film too vague to comprehend, while others called it a character study of sorts.
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Meanwhile, the film has been running successfully in the theatres, reportedly raking in Rs 1.40 crore from 375 shows at the Chennai box-office.