Panaji, Nov 26 (IANS) Narrating the story of a prostitute in love with her profession in 'Ammuvagiya Naan' became a litmus test as most of the actresses backed out of the role, says Rufus Parker, the producer of the film.
The Tamil film is being screened in the Indian Panorama section at the 38th International Film Festival of India, which kicked off here Friday.
'It took me four years to complete the film and after completion I realised how difficult it is make a film on this theme because most of the films so far have shown them (prostitutes) suffering in the profession,' said Parker.
For Parker, the most difficult task was finding the actress for the lead role.
'Because of the prostitute theme, actresses thought it will be vulgar and refused to work. We spoke to quite a few popular actresses and finalised them too, but they backed out.'
'Secondly, the director was new, so they (actresses) were not confident and shied away from the project. If you will see the film, you will realise it is just a simple love story and there is nothing vulgar or controversial about it,' he said.
It was newcomer Bharathi who bailed out the producer and the director out of the dilemma.
'She came for the screen test but we didn't tell her anything in the beginning. After three days we narrated the story and Bharathi was really impressed and instantly said `yes'.'
Set in Pondicherry, 'Ammuvagiya Naan' revolves around a girl, Ammu (Bharathi), who is raised in a brothel called Raani Madam and loves her profession. Then enters a writer, played by R. Parthiban, in her life. He comes to live with them to research for his book and falls in love with Ammu, but she refuses his marriage proposal.
The director, Padma Magan, says about his inspiration for the film: 'I took inspiration from Kamal Haasan-starrer 'Sadma'. Before starting my film I spent a few months in a brothel to understand their life and their psychology.'
Magan's directorial debut 'Pallavan' didn't work at the box office.
However, Parker didn't mind working with the Magan because he says his motive is to encourage new talents.
'If you are successful, you have many supporters, but newcomers don't get any back-up. I knew Padma's (Magan) last film was a flop but I told him if you have a good story, I am ready to produce it and then he told me about this film.'
'I want to make good cinema and commercial success is not important for me. I have an IT consultancy firm in San Francisco, which takes care of the money part.'
Parker said he didn't have any difficulty in dealing with the censor board.
'The censor board passed the film without any cuts. The film was released in August this year.'