Tamil cinema, which has been conspicuous by its absence on The French Riviera all these years, is making a major splash at 70th Cannes Film Festival thanks to a hotly anticipated £2.5 billion period drama that promises to outstrip Bahubali in terms of scale and grandeur.
Set to go into production later this year, the upcoming film, Sanghamitra, a tale of valour, treachery and love, was formally announced by Thendanal Studios Ltd, a Chennai-based filmed entertainment outfit that co-hosted the Cannes Film Market’s opening night party.
The first instalment of the two-part magnum opus will be ready for release by the end of 2018, director Sundar C has revealed.
The stars of the film, Jayam Ravi, Arya and Shruti Haasan, flew into Cannes to talk about their dream project, which has been in the works for nearly three years.
Sundar has described themovie as a fantasy inspired by Tamil history and set in the eighth century. “Sanghamitra will be grandly entertaining,” he said on the sidelines of Cannes Film Festival.
“This is the film that I have always been aspiring to make,” says the director who has helmed over 30 commercially successful Tamil films, including the Rajinikanth starrer Arunachalam and the Kamal Haasan vehicle Anbe Sivam.
“I’ve had the Sanghamitra idea with me for a decade now. I was waiting for the right kind of budget and the necessary technology to come my way. The time is now ripe. I wanted to be sure that I’d be able to do full justice to the magnitude of the tale before embarking upon making it,” he said.
Bahubali took south Indian cinema to the national level. Sanghamitra will take it to the global league. That is what we are aiming at and that is why we are in Cannes to launch the film,” Sundar said.
“Although Sanghamitra will be a purely Indian film without a trace of any western influences, we are looking for an international audience,” he said.
“The idea is to bring to the world a sweeping view of the richness and achievements of Indian culture and history. Most Western films shot in India focus on slums and poverty. That is only 5 per cent of India. My film will celebrate the other side of India.”