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Sasi Kumar and Meenakshi Govind Raj in ‘Kennedy Club’. Image Credit: Supplied

Tamil director Suseenthiran and the game of kabaddi are inseparable.

Having grown up watching his father and brother play the traditional sport, Suseenthiran was naturally drawn towards it. So, when love for cinema took over the native of Oddanchatram (Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu), he had enough fodder to build his stories.

Suseenthiran made an impressive debut with the critically acclaimed ‘Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu’ in 2009. Ten years later and with more films under his belt, Suseenthiran is back with another sports drama, ‘Kennedy Club.’

Once again pivoted around kabbadi, this story espouses the cause of women kabaddi players. Like ‘Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu’, Suseenthiran found the spark for ‘Kennedy Club’ from his father’s experiences in kabaddi. His 60-year-old father has been a coach for women kabaddi players in their hometown for a long time.

“I have heard from him stories of young women who aspired big and hoped for a better life through this sport. I was looking for an emotional thread. One particular incident touched me prompting me to write ‘Kennedy Club,’ said Suseenthiran, an Indian National Award winner.

He did not look far when he cast veteran director Bharatiraja as a senior kabaddi coach, a character inspired by his father. Bharathiraja had played a significant role in his earlier film, ‘Pandiya Naadu.’

Praising Bharathiraja’s performance, especially in the climax scene, Suseenthiran added, “He completely surrendered himself to the role.”

Actor-director Sasi Kumar plays Selvam, a young coach who is another character inspired from life. Kumar’s new and cool look has been much appreciated. Meenakshi Govind Raj makes her debut in a key role.

She underwent training in kabaddi before shooting. Thirteen women kabaddi players make their cinema debut with ‘Kennedy Club’.

Made at a budget of around Rs150 million, ‘Kennedy Club’ was shot in different parts of India namely Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Pune, Kerala, Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Mangalore. Scenes were shot in the midst of live kabaddi matches played with huge crowds for an authentic feel. Sixteen national teams comprising of six hundred women players participated in the matches. Several cameras captured the mood of the game, added Suseenthiran.

Interestingly, the Mandarin dubbing rights of ‘Kennedy Club’ for release in China were acquired for a whopping price of Rs20 million much before the film completed shooting.

The supporting cast includes Soori, Murali Sharma and Mack Bandh.

D Imman has composed music. RB Gurudev is the DOP.

‘Kennedy Club’ releases in the UAE on August 22.