Gorilla, Haathi Mere Saathi, Kumki 2, Adhugo: Animals are the stars of upcoming Telugu, Tamil films
Gorilla's titular character is from the Samut training station of Thailand, popular for training animals for Hollywood films like Planets of the Apes and Hangover 2.
From a talking piglet to a live chimpanzee which helps in a heist, southern filmmakers are giving cinematic twist to their love for animals as nearly half a dozen films featuring animals in key roles are in the pipeline. Following the runaway success of his 2012 Tamil movie Kumki, which explored the relationship between a mahout and his elephant, filmmaker Prabhu Solomon is back with two elephant-based films, including a sequel to Kumki.
Solomon’s upcoming two animal-based films are the jungle-based trilingual Haathi Mere Saathi, which features Rana Daggubati in the lead and Kumki 2 with a bunch of newcomers. Perhaps no other director is more obsessed with elephants than Solomon.
Talking about Haathi Mere Saathi, which is also being simultaneously made in Tamil and Telugu, Solomon told Firstpost, “If Kumki explored the relationship between a mahout and his elephant, then Haathi Mere Saathi is about man-animal conflicts. This story is based on a real event in which 20 elephants were orphaned near Kaziranga due to the actions of humans. The story focuses on how these elephants were rescued. Rana plays a jungle man who comes to the rescue of the elephants and a rare bond is formed between them.”
The film has been predominantly shot in Thailand. Before the project went on the floors, Rana spent close to two weeks with elephants and also shed 15 kilos to play his part. On signing the project, Rana had said in a statement, “There’s a very exciting physical language to the character I'm playing in Haathi Mere Saathi; something entirely different from what I've done in the past. I've always wanted to be a part of content that can travel across the country, and am very happy that Trinity is backing cinema of this genre. It's a rare story about the relevance of nature in our lives, narrated through a wonderful relationship between man and elephant. This story is definitely another of those rare challenges I'm beginning to enjoy being a part of. Prabhu Solomon's passion for nature and elephants makes him probably the finest craftsman in the country who can handle a story like this”.
Solomon has also begun work on Kumki 2, which he describes as a spiritual sequel to the first part. Mostly featuring newcomers, the film explores the bond between a baby elephant and a young boy. The project is on the verge of completion.
Another exciting animal-based film in the offing is upcoming live-action Tamil heist comedy Gorilla which features a real chimp in a key role. On Friday, the makers unveiled the first poster of the film and it was heartening to see the chimp alongside the lead actors. The chimp, which is named Kong, is from the world renowned Samut training station of Thailand, popular for training animals for Hollywood films like Planets of the Apes and Hangover 2, plays the film’s titular character. The film’s story is centered on a group of misfits who set out to rob a bank. The chimp plays one of the members of the team.
Ravi Babu is looking forward to the release of his long delayed Telugu comedy Adhugo which features a piglet in the lead. Actor-filmmaker Ravi Babu, known for breaking the mould with his creative films, is gearing up with Adhugo, a coming-of-age drama featuring a piglet in the titular role. Amid rumours that the project has been shelved, the actor-turned-filmmaker in March released a clip where he was seen brushing the teeth of the piglet, assuring audiences that the film has not been dropped.
Although shot with a live piglet, the film is still lying in cans due to the heavy VFX work involved. In a chat with this writer last year, Ravi said that the process of making the film was extremely challenging. “We shot the entire film with the piglet. But this is the story of a talking piglet; therefore, we had to use VFX to make the piglet speak in key scenes. The process has been extremely challenging and time-consuming.”
It is going be really interesting to see animals hog the limelight when these films hit the screens.
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