Sivakarthikeyan's Kanaa, Nani's Jersey — A look at Tamil cinema's newfound love for cricket-based films

Haricharan Pudipeddi

July 16, 2018 10:56:08 IST

The love for cricket and cinema, the two biggest sources of entertainment is unprecedented in our country. At a time when news about a sequel to the MS Dhoni biopic, which starred Sushant Singh Rajput in the lead, has made waves, southern cinema is all set to display its love for cricket through a few recently announced cricket-based productions. From Sivakarthikeyan’s maiden production Kanaa to Nani’s Jersey and Rashmika’s role as a cricketer in Dear Comrade, filmmakers in the south are celebrating new-found love for the sport.

First look of Kanaa. YouTube

First look of Kanaa. YouTube

Popular Tamil star Sivakarthikeyan has turned producer for upcoming cricket-based drama Kanaa, which features Kaaka Muttai and Daddy-fame Aishwarya Rajesh as an aspiring cricketer and Baahubali-fame Sathyaraj as her father. According to the film’s director Arunraja Kamaraj, the story is a cricket-based drama centred on a father-daughter relationship.

Talking about the film, Aishwarya told Firstpost, “The film is based on women’s cricket and I play a cricketer who hails from a small town. This is the story of how she makes her mark and realises her dream against all odds. Despite knowing the basics of the sport, it’s quite challenging to play the game. I have already begun training for it. It’s only after I signed this project did I really take interest in women’s cricket and have started following the matches very closely. What I really love about the sport is the body language of the women cricketers and the attitude with which they carry themselves. It’s an honour to play a woman cricketer on screen.”

If the industry grapevine is anything to go by, Aishwarya took her cricket lesson from former Australian player and Coach Dav Whatmore. In May, Whatmore shared a picture of Aishwarya on his Instagram picture and wished her good luck for her film. He had posted a picture of their meeting on Instagram and wrote, “With Indian actress Ashy, good luck in your next role as a women’s cricketer. Will be watching.”

In the upcoming Telugu film Jersey, Nenu Local and MCA-fame, Nani essays the role of a cricketer with dreams of playing for the Indian team. In a recent chat with Firstpost, director Gowtam Tinnanuri said, “It’s a story about a late bloomer who realises his talent at a certain age and pursues his dream to join Indian cricket team. It’s a period sports drama and the story takes place between 1986 and 1996.” Gowtam clarified that the story is not based on any real character. “It’s entirely a fictional story. We are planning to start shooting from September. Nani will undertake cricket lessons in preparation for the role.”

Nani plays a character called Arjun in the film and Gowtam describes the film as a “success story of a failure”. On 15 June, Nani took to twitter and shared the first look poster and title of the film. The film’s poster features a jersey with the name Arjun on it and it appears to be hanging in the dressing room of Indian cricket team. Currently busy hosting Telugu version of Bigg Boss and wrapping up the pending portion of upcoming Telugu crime-comedy Devadas; Nani is expected to take cricket lessons soon.

In Vijay Deverakonda-starrer upcoming Telugu film Dear Comrade, actress Rashmika Mandanna plays a cricketer. Over the last few months, she has been taking cricket lessons. In a recent interview to Deccan Chronicle, talking about the experience of practising to play her part, she said, “This is the first time I am holding a bat and I now realise how it would be for the players to slog on the ground. My respect for the women’s cricket team has gone up. I guess the sport also has a lot to do with mental ability. I just started to pick up the game and it’s addictive.”

There are reports doing the rounds that actor Akkineni Naga Chaitanya plays a cricketer in his next film with director Shiva Nirvana. The yet-untitled project will also be his first collaboration with his wife Samantha post their marriage.

Updated Date: Jul 16, 2018 10:56 AM