Indian actress Anju Kurian plays Roshini in Chennai 2 Singapore
‘Chennai 2 Singapore’ is Abbas Akbar’s debut feature film, which was six years in the making. It’s a wild enough story to pull it off, and a feat and a half to see it through.
The Tamil-language romantic comedy tells the story of a struggling filmmaker from Chennai who arrives in Singapore to find funders for his film.
He is besieged by many troubles upon his arrival. Amongst them is Roshini, a depressed girl who has his heartstrings.
The protagonist Harish is played by actor Gokul Anand, who hails from Chennai. Trivia: Gokul and the music composer Ghibran are alumnus of the LaSalle College of the Arts in Singapore!
He’s temporarily distracted by how his world is falling around him; but he’s also falling for her…
We speak to Abbas about his debut feature film and his inspiring journey:
#1 – FINDING ROMANCE IN A MAD UNIVERSE
Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong, says Abbas by way of introducing the plot. Harish, our protagonist, is in the lowest point of his life. He’s shattered, destroyed, and questioning life, the universe, and has serious doubts about his ambition.
Yet, when he encountered romance, it was the only thing that went right. It was part escapism, but it’s also when love made the most sense in this madness.
Rajesh Balachandiran plays an eccentric cameraman who meets Harish in his quest, and in his detour to love
And so we witness Harish’s pendulum of emotions: the glee in blowing bubbles with his pals on the hood of a truck, the narrow ribbons along a coastline he’s slicing through on his motorcycle, and the smouldering look his love interest throws his way inside his dream.
WATCH THIS SPECIAL ‘CHENNAI 2 SINGAPORE’ TEASER TRAILER:
#2 – THE JOURNEY & THE ROADBLOCKS
Abbas had a very specific vision for his debut film, but he persisted through a change of cast and some major setbacks.
He had made his mark with the award-winning TV drama series Vettai in Singapore, and his next career step would be this debut feature film.
Abbas wasn’t going to settle for anything less than what he set out to do.
“What drew me about this script and the characters were the craziness, the madness. I planned this project with a commercial element in mind, but I learnt a lot from people in the industry about the genre. I was very passionate about Chennai 2 Singapore.
It’s been a long journey since. The most challenging thing about this six-year process was learning how to listen to my heart, and do the right thing. I had to listen, to investigate, and to understand my heart, and to stay true to it.
“It’s been a long journey, but I’m glad that something I dreamt about six years ago has come to reality. That’s a great feeling.”
#3 – A LITERAL JOURNEY FROM CHENNAI TO SINGAPORE
Abbas embarked on another adventure with music composer Mohamaad Ghibran on an “audio drive”: the duo crossed six countries in three weeks, releasing a song from the film upon arrival in each country.
“It sounded like an amazing, fun idea at first, to create awareness of our film product. But it was very challenging. We’ve travelled for holidays, but never travelled as a job, for publicity, and live-feeding the videos.
“It was crazy and funny, and I saw landscapes that I’ve never seen in my life. I saw the world in a different perspective.