Chennai: It is a different kind of Tamil movie altogether with US President Barack Obama as the hero of a fictional village in Tamil Nadu although he never makes a physical appearance in the film and is shown via cutouts and posters and even has two songs based on him. Journalist-turned-filmmaker Janaki Viswanathan`s medium budget movie Om Obama is the story of Kedarpalayam village and the relationship the hamlet believes it shares with Obama.
"The village believes that it has contributed to Obama becoming President and he in turn bailed them out of an economic crisis. There are lot of sub plots including romance and, grass roots politics," Viswanathan told reporters.
She had been working on a story set in a village and was looking for a larger backdrop to set it against at a time when recession had set in. She saw an article on the Internet about the crisis in the Tirupur export garments industry.
"There was a reference to how there was a belief that there would be an upward turn if Obama became President. Thought it interesting and appropriate…hence the Obama angle."
"Kedarpalayam is representative of a typical Tamil village, a Malgudi (famous author late R K Narayan`s fictional village) of sorts. Obama is the hero of the village and hence I suppose the film. He is present through the film although not in a physical sense."
"There is a love story too. So, I suppose we do have a conventional hero. And besides there are a lot of sub-plots and hence a slew of principal characters.." she said.
Asked why she used Om, she said the article on the internet had comment by a local in Tirupur who said shops and businesses should have their placards reading Om Obama rather than Om Labhum (profit)..."seemed both appropriate and attractive and hence we made use of it."
Shooting began in April.
"The film is ready and we hope to release it before the end of the year."
She had not used an Obama look-alike.
"You will understand why when you watch the film. So, Obama is shown only via posters, cutouts etc. The US consulate was very helpful in terms of providing us with some stock footage and even identifying a couple of actors for the film."