Controversy helped Dam 999: Director


By Hindustan Times

Sohan Roy, director of controversial multilingual film Dam 999 that released throughout India but not in Tamil Nadu, is happy because the heat generated has given his venture a fillip.

"The film has been released across the country, except in Tamil Nadu where it has been banned. The initial response from all the theatres is excellent and it is just because of the publicity it got," Roy told reporters here Friday evening.

Roy, a naval architect, made Dam 999 with $10 million. It is a tale of a dam built during colonial rule that is cracking and revolves around nine characters and their emotions.

"The film has got nothing to do with the agreement between Tamil Nadu and Kerala over the Mullaperiyar dam. People have mistaken it because I have also done a documentary on the Mullaperiyar dam and that has got nothing to do with 'Dam 999'," said Roy.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the Mullaperiyar dam, built under an agreement signed in 1886 between the then erstwhile royal of Travancore and the British administration.

While the dam is located in Kerala's Idukki district, its waters serve Tamil Nadu. In recent years, Tamil Nadu has demanded that the dam's storage capacity be raised by increasing the dam height from 136 feet (41.5 m) to 142 feet (43 m) to meet the increasing demand of water for irrigation.

While Kerala has been demanding a new dam, Tamil Nadu has been vehemently opposing it. To break the deadlock, the Supreme Court earlier this year set up a high-level empowered committee to go into all issues, including the safety aspects, of the Mullaperiyar dam.

"A dam burst is just one part of the film - the film delves into aspects of love, emotion, ayurveda, astrology, music and a few other elements. This film should be seen with a serious perspective. If Slumdog Millionaire depicted India as a slum, through my film India would be known for other things, which is a big plus point," said Roy.

He added that his partners are busy speaking to people in Tamil Nadu to inform them that the film has nothing to do with the dispute between the two states.

"The censor board officials cleared my film after seeing it more than once because they were asked to make sure there is no trouble in the country because of the film. I have decided not appeal against the ban by Tamil Nadu because I am confident that their opposition will die down once they get the feedback that it has got nothing controversial," said Roy.

He added the satellite rights of the film will be sold to 200 countries and a record one million DVD's will be sold, for which agreements would be inked soon.

"I have now started to work on my next film and it would be based on Somalian pirates and the script is expected to be ready by next year."