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Varanasi: Bala's next spiritual journey for Naan Kadavul
Naan Kadavul
Making a low-budget “artsy” film is a thankless job. Yes, they may make the critics swoon in delight, and lovers of cinema won’t tire fawning over it, but it’s nearly impossible to achieve what commercial movies are all about – the fame, the money and the adulation of millions of fans. If there is one director down South who has skillfully managed to bring together both artistic merit and clinking cash registers, it is Bala, the man behind such critically acclaimed blockbusters like Pithamagan and Sethu.
Next up on Bala’s palette is the Ajith-starrer Naan Kadavul, for which the ace director has worked 3 years on the script. Without a doubt, Kadavul will be to Ajith what Pithamagan was to Vikram – the transformation of a mere “star” into an “actor”.
As the very name suggests, this movie will hover over a religious subtext to get its message across. From what we have found out, Ajith, an atheist in the movie is said to play the role of a singer who sings for last rites, goes on a mission to Varanasi to discern the meaning of God. That’s quite a heavy subject for an actor who is used to portraying the larger-than-life hero in commercial potboilers. But with Bala at the helm, he will unquestionably bring out never-been-seen-before acting prowess from Ajith.
Naan Kadavul
Ajith & Bala
And no one has to complain about the production values of the film as well – Naan Kadavul features the very best of technical expertise from the Tamil movie industry, featuring Arthur Wilson behind the camera, art director Krishnamoorthy, and living legend Ilayaraja scoring the music. As for the heroine, there seems to have been a slight shuffle with Bhavana, riding a popularity wave after the success of Chitthiram Paesuthadi, having replaced Meera Jasmine.
Pre-production on the film has already begun in full earnest, with Bala’s assistants already scouting for ideal filming locations in the sacred city of Varanasi. Why, though? India, with its entire rich cultural heritage, has countless scenic spots of devotion, yet why has Bala chosen Varanasi to shoot his spiritual epic?
It’s not just Bala, come to think of it. Varanasi has been the most preferred destination among filmmakers from all over the country when it comes to showcasing India’s spiritual wealth. Hermann Hesse’s Siddharth comes to mind, as also Deepa Mehta’s award winning film Water (which has been chosen to be screened at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival this year). The recent Hindi film Banaras also featured the city in all its grandeur, as did the Tamil movie Amirdham.
Naan Kadavul
Varanasi has been known for its tradition, sanctity and other-worldliness, that even in this fast-paced and hectic world, does not seem to let go of the Indian psyche.
Varanasi also presents a collage of other subjects to explore, like the sanctimonious reverence of the Ganga river, and the wish of many devout Hindus to bestow their Ashes to the river to attain eternal salvation.

If any one of us was given the choice as to the director who will do full justice to the myriad forms of Varanasi, Bala would definitely top most of our lists..
Of course, in our society, anything even remotely connected with religion is very closely monitored. Bala may have to dodge some landmines, as he tries to confront or gloss over sensitive aspects which could offend certain members of the audience. But as Bala has proved time and again, his unbridled creativity can work wonders when translated on screen. As they say, Godspeed!
Our earlier news:  
Ajith-Bala’s Naan Kadavul to kick off on May
Ajith’s Go(o)d luck!!
Ajith plays a singer in Naan Kadavul
Bala: Looking for a suitable hero!
Bala to change the title Naan Kadavul?
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