Debutante filmmaker Julian Prakash’s upcoming film Ilami, which has ‘Saattai’ Yuvan in the lead, revolves around jallikattu. Set in 1700 against the backdrop of the bull-taming sport, the director tells CE how difficult it was to shoot the related-portions.
“‘Vadam jallikattu’ is the oldest form that existed some 300 years ago in Tamil Nadu. We wanted to bring that experience on screen. Here, the bull and the bull-tamer fight face-to-face. But what happens now is manju virattu — where the fighter tames the bull. Both are different,” he says. Cinematographer Yuga and Julian had a tough time finalising locations and construct huge sets in villages that has no electric poles or phone towers.
A Madurai native, the city was his inspiration for this subject. “During my college days, my friends and I used to watch the sport. Unfortunately, we don’t get to celebrate it now,” he recalls.
Yuvan had to undergo a makeover for this film. He adds, “I had to grow long hair as I am playing the role of a youngster who excels in jallikattu. Also, I was on a rigorous workout regime to g7et the beefed-up look.” llami has Kishore, Akhil, and Anu Krishna, in important roles.
There are chances the film can be marred by contrversies considering the subject. Julian smiles, “Jallikattu is an identity for Tamilians. It’s not for mere entertainment, but a tradition practised for a long time, and I am ready to face anything.”