After impressing audiences with his critically acclaimed film Haridas (2013), director GNR Kumaravelan is now all-set to wow his fans with his next film, Wagah, which features Vikram Prabhu and Ranya in the lead, and is almost ready to hit screens.
“Wagah is a love story. And love can be for anything — it could be for an individual or for the nation. My film emphasises the fact that a person must nurture a love for both,” says Kumaravelan.
Vikram Prabhu plays a BSF jawan in this film. It’s about the journey of a guy from a small village who gets posted along the border. “In a way, you could also call it a character’s autobiography,” points out Kumaravelan, who is all praise for the country’s armed forces.
“I have always had a profound admiration for the Indian Army. Two of my relatives serve in the armed forces — my uncle is in the Indian Air Force and my cousin is in the army. When I was a child, I would look at my uncle in awe, as I knew he was committed to the cause of defending the country. So, I have always wanted to make a film on the armed forces. After Haridas, I decided the time was right to make this film and chose (to do it on) the BSF (Border Security Force), as not much is known about their contribution. The film will come out at a time when the Border Security Force is celebrating its 50th year,” he explains.
The filmmaker did a lot of research and field work to understand the daily difficulties that the BSF personnel and other armed forces face. “After finishing the script, I took around seven months to ensure that all the facts in my film are correct. I visited several places along the border and stayed in Jammu and Kashmir to experience first hand the difficulties our personnel face. Not many understand the tough lives they lead,” he rues.
“Not many even know that the BSF is India’s first line of defence and that they constantly come face-to-face with rival troops, irrespective of whether we are at war or not. I saw soldiers working in temperatures as low as -180C. One jawan told me that he would not want to leave his post until he found another person as committed as him to defend it. I was moved and felt ashamed when we compared our contribution to theirs,” says Kumaravelan.
Though a film of this magnitude requires 100 days to shoot, he says this film was completed ahead of schedule. “We had planned to complete it within 75 days, but wrapped things up in 67 days,” says Kumaravelan, who is all praise for his hero Vikram Prabhu. “I chose Vikram Prabhu for his physique and I also wanted an upcoming artiste for this role. He was my choice for an action role and I am delighted that I made the right choice,” he smiles.