Now, Tamil movie says ‘Om Obama’

By V. Jagannathan, IANS
Friday, November 5, 2010

CHENNAI - It may have an all new cast, but journalist-turned-filmmaker Janaki Viswanathan’s Tamil movie “Om Obama” certainly has one globally known star - the American president who stars via cutouts, posters and even a song!

“Broadly the story is about a village that transforms economically after an export garment unit was built nearby and how it gets hit due to global recession. There are various sub-plots that make up the storyline,” Viswanathan told IANS.

She says the Kedarapalayam villagers started praying for Obama’s victory in the US presidential elections because they thought his economic policies would uplift the economies of the garment unit and their own.

The sub-plots of “Om Obama”, releasing in December, include romance, grassroots politics, panchayat elections and others.

Viswanathan, a former print and television journalist, says the the star cast is entirely new and the US Consulate gave a helping hand in identifying some Americans to star in the movie.

“Many villagers where the movie was shot have acted in the film,” she said while declining to reveal the real name of the village that is around 200 km from here.

“Perhaps this is the first time there is an Urdu song in a Tamil movie. The movie has four songs and the music is scored by Paul. J. There is also a song `Obama nee vaama, koode serndhu aadalama’ (Come Obama, shall we dance together),” she said.

Cagey about the budget, Viswanathan says the film was shot in 35 days.

Asked about the germination of the idea, she said: “I was working on a story on the impact of global recession on an Indian village when I chanced upon a news report on the crisis faced by Tirupur garment exporting units.”

She said the article quoted Tirupur exporters as saying that they would pray for Obama’s victory in the 2008 US presidential elections as it would be better for Indian business.

“That was the spark and from there I developed the plot,” Viswanathan added.

The movie is expected to be released in Tamil Nadu by the end of this year, close on the heels of Obama’s Nov 6-9 visit.

“With subtitles we plan to release in other languages. We are also planning an international release and in movie festival circuits,” Viswanathan said.

“Om Obama” is her third movie, the first two being national award winner “Kutty” and “Kanavu Meippada Vendum”.

The first two movies broke even and she is confident that “Om Obama” will make profits! She is also confident that the movie will get entertainment tax exemption from the Tamil Nadu government as the title is in Tamil. In the state if a film has title in Tamil, it gets tax exemption.

–Indo Asian News Service

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