For a touch of royalty
The stories that emanate from the homes of royal families excited actor, director and now producer Roopa Iyer, who is directing and producing a bilingual film called Chandra.
The film will have Tamil actress Shriya Saran and Nenapirali Prem in the lead roles. It revolves around the life of the last generation of a royal family.
Roopa chose to knit the story around the theme of love because she believes that love cuts across caste, creed, class and religion. She spent time researching royal families and also travelled across the country, interacting with members of families like the Nizams, Mysore Maharaja, Travancore and Rajasthan. “I spend a great deal of my spare time reading and writing. This film is not historical and but is based on the life of a royal family.
We have captured and portrayed the last generation of a royal family. Walk into the home of any royal family and you will still find that their costumes and food habits are quite similar to how the Maharajas once lived. But there have been a few changes,” Roopa tells Metrolife.
The story is about the a princess (played by Shriya) who falls in love with an ordinary man (played by Prem), who is the son of a musician. “I wanted Shriya, with her very sharp features, to play the princess. She has never played a princess before and was impressed by the script. And I chose Prem because I wanted someone with a six-pack.
There are scenes where he may have to bare his body. The two actors fit the characters perfectly well,” explains Roopa. Roopa points out that there’s a lot of thrill and suspense packed into the story. She adds, “Shriya and Prem had to train in the martial art form Kalaripayattu, for three months, before the shooting could begin. They would start training as early as six in the morning. We roped in a Kalaripayattu master from Kerala just to train them. There are scenes where the actors get to show off their skills in Kalaripayattu,”
To give the film a touch of reality, Roopa has shot scenes in the Mysore Palace. “It was a long process. I had to take the permission of the Central Government and the Maharaja of Mysore to shoot inside the palace. And we have also shot in and around the US and Dubai,” shares Roopa.
Talking about the title of the film, Roopa states, “Shriya and Prem are both called Chandra in the film. Shriya’s name is Maharani Ammani Chandravati and Prem is called Chandra Hasa.” Roopa has also written two songs in the film. Tamilian comedian Vivek and former ‘Mr India’ Ganesh Venkatraman play substantial roles in the film.