Kaala is my father’s story. Why we slapped a Rs 100-crore notice on Rajinikanth
It was pretty clear from day one it is based on S Thiraviam Nadar.
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The Indian media’s focus is suddenly on us, only after my brother Jawahar Nadar was forced to make Kaala's filmmakers sit up and take notice.
He decided to file a Rs 100-crore defamation suit against actor Rajinikanth for possibly portraying my father in a negative light in Kaala, due for global release on June 7.
Director Pa Ranjith has flatly denied that Kaala is based on my father’s life.
A year-long fight trying to get the filmmakers to acknowledge that the long-awaited, controversial film is to my father S Thiraviam Nadar's credit finally reached its peak only when money and legalities got involved.
Early last year, in a telephonic conversation with me, the iconic Tamil film director Pa Ranjith flatly denied that Kaala was based on my father’s life; he said that it was a fictional story.
This despite the fact that he had admitted in an interview to Tamil media that the movie is based on the life of a man who left Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu to become a don in Mumbai.
It's not as if dons are created everyday. It was pretty clear from day one that it was my father’s story.
S Thiraviam Nadar.
With three of his four children.
At my wedding.
With Varadarajan Mudaliar, the infamous don.
With my mother Ambika Nadar.
To make matters worse, we had nothing but our gut instinct to go by, besides several obvious clues from the film’s teasers, trailer and a song, to risk staking our claim strongly.
It has been amazing how we have been accused of trying to rip the filmmakers off over some money, when it is the filmmakers who are trying to make a fortune out of a man’s life and times by dismissing it as a work of fiction.
The right thing to do for a filmmaker of this stature would have been to talk to us, seek our permission, give my father the credit and be done with it, instead of being sneaky about it.
Destiny brought my father to Mumbai in the 1950s, as a hungry, 16-year-old hiding under the seats of a train which he thought was taking him to Burma, where South Indian refugees would flee to in those days besides Ceylon.
He was fleeing Tirunelveli district, which was severely hit by a famine. He made a life for himself in Sion, Mumbai by grabbing desolate land that belonged to no one — land which nobody wanted.
He built temporary sheds there which doubled up as shops and residences. He helped the several thousands who fled Tirunelveli after him "settle" in Dharavi after literally filling the mosquito-ridden, vast, stinky swamps with mud to erect temporary shelters.
Today, that no-man’s land is worth zillions and being eyed by every major political party.
Since my father escaped the police radar unlike his "brothers" — dons Vardhabhai Mudaliar and Haji Mastan — bound together by a common story of survival, nothing about his life has been documented.
He shot to fame — and notoriety — when he singlehandedly put paid to Shiv Sena’s supremo Bal Thackeray’s plans to throw "madrassis" out of Mumbai.
All that is now captured well on celluloid and an instant hit already.
Read this story in Bangla