Filmmaker Arun Krishnaswami’s casual visit to Chennai’s Guindy race course motivated him to develop the story of Ennodu Vilayadu (Play with me), which is based on horse racing. “When I entered Guindy race course, I was overwhelmed by people’s energy while cheering the running horses at the stadium,” he said. “My experience at the race course help spark and shape an idea for my debut film,” he said.
Arun began to study the details of horse racing, including the practice and culture of the sport, to develop the story. “When I paid a closer look, I realised that horse racing is a game of calculation more than luck. For instance, if there are eight horses running in a race, you can zero in on three horses that are most likely to finish first based on their previous winning records, the jockey and other details. After you place your bets on best horses based on your calculation, later comes the luck factor,” he said.
Most of the horse racing sequences were shot in Mysuru, where the equestrian performance sport enjoys a widespread popularity. The director believes that the sport’s popularity is at par with cricket in Mysuru, especially with the young people.
Arun said that he had so much of material and information he could have made an entire movie about horse racing. However, he felt that a movie like that won’t be commercially viable as many might find it difficult to understand.“Ennodu Vilayadu film opens and ends with horse racing scenes. The events that take place between one race and the other makes the rest of the film,” Arun said.
He said that the film’s actual hero is its screenplay. “Everyone to whom I have shown the film so far had one thing to say in common and that was the film has a strong screenplay,” he said.
Since horse racing is the main attraction of the film, there was a lot of pressure on the filmmakers to make the racing scenes visually very striking. Arun said that the pressure that began from the day he started to write the script for Ennodu Vilayadu and continued till the last day of the shoot. “Filming horse racing scenes were the very challenging part of this film. The majority of the racing scenes was shot during the actual races in Mysuru and they have come out well, namely a race that was shot during the rain,” he said.
Ennodu Vilayadu stars Bharath, Chandhini T, Kathir, Sanchitha Shetty, Radha Ravi and Yog Japee. The film has music by A Moses and Sudharshan M Kumar and Muzik247 is the official music label. The camera was handled by Yuva, and editing by Gopi Krishna. The film is produced by Toronto Reels and Reyan Studios.
The filmmakers wanted to release Ennodu Vilayadu on December 2. However, due to the demonetisation effect, uncertainty hangs over the film’s release date. Arun said that due to the shortage of currency notes, the makers may postpone the release date to January.