Mention 144 and you may think we’re talking about Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which is often used by administrators to maintain law and order in a trouble-torn place.
No, this is now a title of an upcoming Tamil film that is being directed by Manikandan G. The film, which features Mirchi Shiva, Ashok Selvan, Oviya and Sruthi Ramakrishna in the lead, is a thriller with a generous dose of comedy.
“My film, 144 is not based on any real life incident but it is definitely inspired by them,” says Manikandan. “I’m sure most of us would have come across instances when Section 144 was enforced for a few hours or at the most, a few days. But then, there are rural areas where cops stay permanently to ensure that there is no disagreement between two factions.”
The director describes his recent visit to a village in Usilampatti district where cops have been living with the villagers, for over 60 years. “This is to ensure there are no problems between members of two communities who have been at loggerheads. Then, there is also this place near Thirumangalam, where people of two villages fight over fishing and therefore, Section 144 is enforced. But even with Section 144, people leave their villages and visit nearby towns for some entertainment. Such incidents got me thinking about a script and inspired me to write the story,” narrates Manikandan.
Though such real life incidents inspired him, he adds that he’s an ardent fan of writer Sujatha. “His books and the incidents combined helped me script the film,” he adds.
Mirchi Shiva plays a local jewel thief in the film, while Ashok Selvan essays the role of an illegal car racer. “There are eight important characters in my film. A particular incident connects all of them and that’s what this movie is all about,” he says.
Unlike several debutant directors, Manikandan has never worked as an assistant director. “I was working with Image Venture as a VFX artiste. In fact, the film producer and director C V Kumar and I come from a same place and are childhood friends. So, I have done the CG effects for all his films. While he was working on Villa, I decided to write my own script. At this point, I was also making ad films. So, when Kumar wanted to make an ad for his Thirukumaran Travels, I made it for him. When I showed him my script, he offered to produce it,” he recalls.
Shooting of the film is almost over and post production work is going on. Sean Rolden has composed music and Gurudev is the cinematographer. “Film release date is not yet fixed…perhaps in November. But we intend to release the audio soon,” he smiles.
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