All the Way from Canada to Kollywood
The 29-year-old, who hails from Canada, is producing Appuchi Gramam (AG) along with his Chennai-based partner Senthil Kumar. Back home in Montreal, the young producer already has an English-Tamil bilingual, award winning film A Gun And A Ring to his credit. Now with AG, he's bringing in the unusual genre of a sci-fi comedy, hitherto untried in Tamil cinema. What happens when a meteor strikes a small hamlet in TN and creates havoc in the lives of simple villagers is the story. CE caught up with dapper Vishnu Muralee to find out what made this businessman with an IT background, make his way from Canada to Kollywood, just to make films. "I was born in Chennai, where I did my schooling before my family settled in Canada," says the affable Vishnu. Armed with a BSc in Psychology from Concorbia University, Montreal, Vishnu later turned businessman, with his own IT firm, EDM International. "But cinema was a always a passion and I did a two-year diploma course in filmmaking at the Trebas Institute in Montreal," says Vishnu.
So how did he turn producer? "Actually I met director Lenin A Sivam during my days at the Institute and was impressed with his script. The story of A Gun And A Ring is about the harsh realities faced by different generations of those impacted by war in their homeland. It's a multi-cultural film with six different stories and has a global reach. I was eager to produce it and was thrilled when it bagged several awards at various film festivals." The film was screened at the Shanghai, Montreal, Louisville, Hamilton, Cinerockom and Norway Film festivals. It received 12 award nominations and even bagged four awards at the Cinerockhom Film Festival in 2013 and 3 more at the Norway Tamil Film Festival recently. It will also be screened at the Chennai International Women's Film Festival this year.
So what lured him back to Chennai, to enter Kollywood as a producer? "I always wanted to make films in India and even direct some day. So, when the script of AG came along, I grabbed it as a producer." Vishnu is clear about his goals, "A Gun and A Ring was aimed at film festivals, whereas AG is a commercial family entertainer, with a very different subject. Usually sci-fi films are set in big cities but this is set in a village and handles the emotional upheaval in the lives of villagers impacted by a scientific phenomenon. Its unusual content and simple handling by director Vi Anand, a former assistant of AR Murugadoss, really impressed me. I wanted a very different film to be my visiting card in this industry, and AG fit the bill."
Shot in Pollachi and Chennai, the film has newbie Praveen as hero while Anusha, SujaVarunee, Swasika and Nasser are part of the cast. Music is by Inam-fame Vishal C, while the cinematographer is Prasad GK, who has worked as assistant cameraman in Hollywood's Slumdog Millionaire and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. With fresh blood, and international sensibilities crossing borders to enter the Tamil industry, looks like a new age in cinema is on the cards.