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Kurangu Pedal director Kamalakannan says the movie's story is 'universal' | Read the interview here...

Director Kamalakannan, whose children's film Kurangu Pedal is set to be released in theatres soon, talks to OTTplay about making a children's film, the struggles and learnings 

Kurangu Pedal director Kamalakannan says the movie's story is 'universal' | Read the interview here...
Kurangu Pedal

Last Updated: 04.39 PM, May 01, 2024


Kurangu Pedal, one of the three Tamil films to be screened at the Indian Panorama section of the 53rd International Film Festival of India, is set to be released in theatres on May 3. Presented by Sivakarthikeyan, the slice-of-life drama is about a young boy’s trials and triumphs in learning how to ride a bicycle. Directed by Kamalakannan, the filmmaker joins OTTplay in conversation about his upcoming film, making something for children and more.

“This will be an experience film; at the same time, there will be some twists. The storytelling will have some sense of piquing interest within the audience. Kurangu Pedal is a film that will make you want to watch it again and again,” Kamalakannan says.

Here are snippets from a freeflowing chat with the director:

Is Kurangu Pedal a movie for children? Or about children?


Back home, during college days, we ran a film society for about 15 years and we conducted film festivals; we screened children’s films in colleges. We have screened some international films and I have seen firsthand how children savour films. Film viewing is a group behaviour and I have seen how kids enjoy films when watched as a collective and what type of films they do. 

Films about children, when shown to them, might not sit well with them. Sometimes they might even think that we don’t understand them. It is because their world is different from ours, especially their conflicts. As small as they seem to be, they are big for them. Kurangu Pedal is a film that talks about children's issues at their level. It is for children and about children. At one point, it talks about the child and, at the same time, gives a parent’s perspective too.

Can you tell us a bit more about Kurangu Pedal?

It is essentially a film about a father and son set in the 80s. It is how someone who once was a child is now a parent, who will be reminiscent of their childhood days as well as about their kids. This film will cater to both age groups.

We don’t see many films made for children...

It has been quite a while, though in recent times, there have been films like Erumbu and Shot Boot Three, even though they came in gaps. There have been long gaps between one children’s film and another. If it has been 10 years since the release of Pasanga and Erumbu, it can be said that Shot Boot Three came sooner and mended the gap. There have been films made and with each one releasing, we have learned from mistakes from the past and rectified them.

How do you see the segregation between festival films and commercial films?

I think segregation is everywhere. In our film, we have action, romance, sentiments and songs, unlike in Hollywood films, where they stick to the genre strictly. We need variations in our films and the course of the film depends on whether the majority of the audience accepts it. For example, a film like Manjummel Boys, which did not have a female lead, did well at the box office. But people accepted and even enjoyed it. So once someone begins to accept it, it becomes mainstream. 

There have been times when people did not watch festival-going films, but now viewers seek to watch them. Had people watched Koozhangal in theatres, it would have collected more. At the same time, we also need commercial entertainers for those who just want to enjoy themselves.

A pattern in recent successful films is that they come with a wafer-thin plot but are elevated by dense writing and making. What are your thoughts because Kurangu Pedal is also on similar lines?

For a boy to try learning how to ride a bicycle is a small conflict, and it might be easy for an adult. But seen from the boy’s perspective, it is a bigger thing. The milieu in which we set the story commands whether the conflict is big or small. If I keep the camera on a higher level and show the kids small, the conflict too will appear the same. But if you lower to their heights, you can understand their issue and see how big it is for them. All that the audience sees is whether the conflict is helpful for the narrative and if it is justified and relatable.

How was it working with the kids?

It is definitely challenging because they tend to be more in the moment than us. Their lives keep changing and they are very sharp. It is extremely difficult to get work done by them. Everyone is equal in their eyes and we have five child artists. It is also difficult to get the same reaction twice, so we have to be prepared for everything and be on our toes. We also should explain in the way they understand, and it is very different from conversing with adults. We also had to explain to the kids about the timeline and the importance of the cycle then as opposed to now, which is very common.

What were the learnings from this film?

The major lesson learned was how we, as adults, often complicate simple things. If we make a mistake, it is a complicated procedure for an adult to change. We only share our innermost childish side with the ones to whom we are very close. But children are unlike us and they are very straightforward. They also tend to forget issues between them and view everything on a simpler note.

What your take on Sivakarthikeyan presenting the film?

It is a big advantage because there are two things: to make a film and to make people watch the film. Sivakarthikeyan took up the job to make people watch it. There are many films being taken now, and there is a lot of OTT content too, so amid this, making someone watch the film is a huge thing. To make a film that does not have a big star and make them invest their time, it needs a person to do that. Sivakarthikeyan did that for our film.

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