Director Sudha Kongara Prasad, whose film Irudhi Suttru on women boxers has triggered interest among audiences, says she wrote and rewrote the draft around 50 times before finalising the script in which Madhavan plays a boxing coach.
“I am never happy with what I do, and I look to keep improvising. There is no end to that quest for perfection. I finished Drohi in 2010 and from then on, until 2014, I looked to keep refining it multiple times,” says the director, who is aware that the trailers have already raised expectations from her film.
So, how did she think of making a film on women boxers? Says the director, “Ten years ago, I had a fascinating story on an athlete. After the first copy of Drohi in 2010, I was mulling the possibility of making that script into a film when I remembered reading an article in a newspaper on little girls getting into boxing. I began researching female boxing, and realised that women’s boxing began in 2000 and by 2006, we had emerged world champions in the sport, defeating the formidable Russians. Unfortunately, not many know about this.”
The director was so fascinated by what she discovered that met with boxers in Chennai. “One of the first boxers I met was an Olympian named Devarajan. He became my consultant on boxing and has also acted in my film as a referee. Interestingly, all the boxers, referees and coaches you see in the film are real professionals. I spoke to several women boxers including Mary Kom, Sarita Devi and Lekha and their coaches. After over two-and-a-half years of research, I realised I had a phenomenal story,” she explains.
So, is this film based on a real-life story of a boxer? “No, I already had my story’s beginning, middle and end. It was for the scenes in-between that I had to do my research. The story is fictional,” says Sudha, grateful that she has not had to face the challenge of getting a decent release for her film as she has had a strong set of producers backing her.
“The good news is that I have extremely strong producers — CV Kumar and Sashi in the South and Rajkumar Hirani and Madhavan in the North. There is no point in making a film if you can’t get a good release. I think filmmakers must put in a diligent effort to find a good producer if they get a good script,” says Sudha. “The biggest lesson I learnt while making the film is to never give up. All the hard work you put in is not going to go waste. At the end of the tunnel, if you have been diligent, there will always be light.”