By P K Balachandran
Chandran Rutnam, a veteran Sri Lankan Tamil movie director, and B S Radha Krishnan, a Chennai-based producer, have collaborated to make a Hollywood film starring Ben Kingsley and Ben Cross which is to be released in Los Angeles next month.
Speaking to Express here on Monday, Rutnam said that the film entitled A Common Man was shown to critics and distributors in Hollywood on July 11 and that it had secured a fantastic reception.
Kirk D’Amico, CEO of Myriad Pictures, which is distributing the film in the US, said that the film had the components buyers were looking for: “A big star with a lot of action.”
Ben Kingsley is a common man of Colombo, who is privy to a chilling secret that a terrorist has planted five bombs in various parts of the city set to go off at the same time.
The film is about how Kingsley single-handedly wages a 12-hour nerve wracking struggle to get the dark scheme thwarted by the DIG of Police (Ben Cross).
Rutnam, who has written the script, admits that he was inspired by the 2008 Hindi film A Wednesday produced by the Mumbai-based UTV films. But he maintains that he rewrote it completely. Manohan Nanayakkara of the Lankan finance company, Asia Capital, wanted to produce the film. Nanayakkara’s company had the necessary expertise for it.
It had a communication wing headed by B S Radha Krishnan, an expert on digital cinema from Chennai, who had also produced 10,000 TV episodes in India. Radha Krishnan is a co-producer.
When Nanayakkara asked who he should cast as the common man, Rutnam sheepishly said Ben Kingsley. And to his utter surprise, pat came the answer: “I will get him!”
Kingsley liked Rutnam’s racy script, but said that he would be available only for a total of 25 days and gave specific dates.
“But I was not aghast. I was well prepared for the task because I knew Hollywood’s ways, having worked in Los Angeles for 38 years. The organisational aspects posed no problems as I have helped westerners shoot in Sri Lanka through my company the Film Location Services, for 30 years,” Rutnam said.
The filming was completed on time. But its release was stalled when UTV Motion Pictures of Mumbai said that the plot had been lifted from their 2008 hit A Wednesday. After months of negotiations, Nanayakkara secured the necessary rights.
Not About LTTE
Thought set in Colombo, A Common Man is not about the LTTE or the Lankan Tamil question. courtesy: The New Indian Express