May 18, 2007

Chennai 600 028 - The Film

The film is called 'Chennai 600 028'.
It was given a rather sharp and ominous-sounding title but the team behind the film dropped it.
I was excited when I saw the first of the promotional banners for the film.
Perhaps because that name gave us an indication that the film was based on a neighbourhood of our city.
It is.
Director Venkat Prabhu has woven a story around his life and the lives of his neighbourhood friends and as you may well know, the area is Raja Annamalaipuram (pine - 600 028). A neighbourhood which grew after people living in the heart of Mylapore developed the barren grounds and scrappy 'thopes' of Abhiramapuram and nudged into what came to be called R. A. Puram.
Earlier this week, I saw 'Chennai 600 028' and I must admit I liked the film. And so did the packed theatre.
The story has everything to do with a neighbourhood cricket team, the sort which rolls up its sleeves, plants three stumps and heaves the bat against tennis balls, using every unorthodox style of playing that is yet to be documented.
If you live near a public playground or across large, empty streets or unattended open plots, you would have surely braced with this type of cricket.
And in most cases, been irritated, frustrated or angered.
A flying ball that broke your window panes, the ceaseless chatter at high noon of a team perched on your boundary wall or of the drone of the commentary of a flood-lit tennis ball cricket tourney hosted at the local Corporation playground, where matches end at 3.30 am.
'Chennai 600 028' is all about this. It is also about the lives of young men and the areas where they live and dream and play.
Prabhu tries to bring to life the 'other' side of Raja Annamalaipuram - Visalakshi Thotham. What you and I might well call the leeward side of a neighbourhood. Narrow, congested lanes, dreary blocks of cell-like apartments, where the struggling middle class live. Where young men flaunt their bravados and colour their dreams, where small victories are celebrated without reservations and where enemies are forgiven and friendships last through the worst of times.
Prabhu manages to capture fairly well the reality of this neighbourhood. And of the youth who hail from the area. He doesn't have the time to scrape the surface. The songs and the dances, so essential at the box office, fill in at expected time frames.
And yet, we should appreciate Prabhu and his team for making a film about ourselves. And of our neighbourhoods.
S. P. Balasubramanyam and his son Charan backed it and it seems it is doing well at the box- office.
I would like to know what you thought of this film, if you have seen it. If you haven't, you should. And then share your views.

1 comment:

Janaky said...

Chief,

I finally saw the movie this weekend and it instantly transported me to my MT Beat days... the corporation playground.. all the streets - was awesome!

I loved the movie, though I needed some 'translation' to understand the street language.

You should find someone to make a movie on your experiences too!

PS - I love your Blog. Thanks for sending me the link today!!