Swathi Kolai Vazhaku: Film based on infamous Nungambakkam murder faces legal hurdles
There is a old saying in tinsel town: any film based on a true story is sure to stir up a controversy which will help in creating an opening.
Now a film based on the murder of Infosy employee Swathi in a Chennai suburban railway station, appropriately titled Swathi Kolai Vazhaku (SKV) has stirred a hornets’ nest in Kollywood.
The trailer of Swathi Kolai Vazhaku depicted the murder case as seen by a police officer played by Ajmal, who is investigating the murder. Swathi was murdered in the Nungambakkam railway station on June 24 2016, early in the morning, as she was waiting for a local train to go to her office. Newcomers Ayra and Mano play Swathi and Ramkumar respectively. The film is currently in post-production and yet to be censored.
The film recreates the murder and examines its possible causes including the controversial police investigation. It resulted in the accused Ramkumar, who was caught and jailed, committing “suicide” by biting into a live wire in the prison where he was lodged. The film has enough Tamil commercial cinema ingredients, like stalking, one–sided love, social networking, caste issues and dejection of love spurned to hate. Reeks of a potboiler.
SKV is directed by Ramesh Selvan, a director with a decent track record of making films based on social issues like Jananam (2004) on unemployment; Kalavaram (2014) on how communal violence is created and Vajram (2015), set against the milieu of a juvenile detention centre. All his films have gotten critical acclaim but never commercial success.
Meanwhile, Swathi's father, Santhana Gopalakrishnan, has lodged a complaint to the Tamil Nadu DGP against the film. He feels the film should not be released at any cost as it would bring mental agony to his family and his daughter’s name would be tarnished.
In an exclusive interview to Firstpost, director Ramesh Selvan said: “ I believe in good cinema and so far have made films on social issues plaguing our society. My films have created social awareness. I have never bowed down to commercial cinema pressures. Swathi Kolai Vazhaku has been shot in actual locations where the gruesome murder took place. I have presented the story as it happened and as reported widely in the media and have not made any commercial compromises like songs or any kind of crass cinema titillation. The film has not portrayed Swathi in bad light. Once the first copy of the film is ready I will screen it for Swathi and Ramkumar's parents and then only release it”.
Ramesh also added that his intention is not to make money out of this film, but to ensure that such a crime doesn’t happen again.
SKV is reported to have been made on a shoe-string budget and all the controversies surrounding the film has resulted in a lot of buzz around it. If Swathi’s father stop the release of the film, the makers will have to change the title and release the film with a caption, stating it is a work of fiction.