Vijay Sethupathi has two targets to achieve. The first is to reduce to 75 kg by January 2020 when he will need to slip into the role of Muttiah Muralitharan, the Sri Lankan cricketing legend. The film being produced by Rana Daggubati of Suresh Productions and Dar Media, will shoot in several locations in Sri Lanka and around the world.
The makers of the movie are aiming at the Tamil and the international market for the film, given the kind of cricketing achievements Muralitharan has to his credit.
“It has a Tamil angle since Murali is Sri Lankan Tamil, it has a Sri Lankan angle to it and then there is of course, the cricket angle,” says D Suresh Babu of Suresh Productions. “We think Murali’s story has a lot of drama which will appeal to the Tamil viewers. I shared the news in my school and college Whatsapp groups from Chennai. There was tremendous interest in the Chennai groups.”
Muralitharan is the driving force behind the film, which will be directed by MS Sripathy. Sethupathy is one of the most talented actors in Indian cinema right now, having an impressive body of work. His performances in Vikram Vedha, Super Deluxe, Dharam Durai have been acclaimed.
When he was confirmed for the role, Sethupathi had said : “Portraying the role of Murali is going to be a challenge for me and I am looking forward to it. I am delighted that Murali himself will be closely involved with the project and guilding me on the cricketing aspects. I am thankful to both Murali and the producers for the faith bestowed on me.”
It helps that Sethupathy plays decent cricket. And yes, the second target is to get that menacing look of Muralitharan which perplexed and frightened batsmen around the world for years when the spinner was at his peak.
“His big challenge would be to practise moving those eyes like Murali does when he comes on to bowl. He needs to get that right,” chuckles Suresh.