Acclaimed filmmaker Deepa Mehta's upcoming feature 'Funny Boy' is releasing in the United States theatrically in select cities as well as on streamer Netflix on December 10.
The film, which will represent Canada at the 93rd Academy Awards as the submission for best international film, had courted controversy for not casting enough Tamil actors and had faced backlash from the Tamil diaspora.
However, Mehta, in an interview had revealed that she was keen on sourcing actors from the Tamil film industry in India and had also tried reaching out to 'Baahubali' star Prabhas.
"We approached [R.] Madhavan. He said he did not want to play a father. Siddharth Suryanarayan I really wanted. Sid had broken his shoulder so he could not do it. The person I thought would be really good was the guy who played the king in 'Baahubali' (Prabhas). He didn’t answer any of my calls, so that was that," the filmmaker was quoted as saying by thewire.in.
Talking about the flak the film received from a section of Tamil community in Canada, 'Fire' director had said, "That is so defensive and demeaning. You have to find out what’s important to you. Do you want your story to be told – the story of the genocide of the Tamils. Or is it more important to you that a Sri Lankan who is not a Tamil is playing a Tamil."
"People want to be offended these days. It’s very easy to be offended. But I did not set about offending anybody. It is the last thing I need in my life – been there, done that and it’s exhausting," she'd added.
'Funny Boy' is an adaptation of author Shyam Selvadurai's 1994 novel of the same.
Set in Sri Lanka during the 1970s and 1980s, the film explores the sexual awakening of its young protagonist Arjie (played by Arush Nand/Brandon Ingram) from a young boy, deemed 'funny' by disapproving family, to a teenager enamoured by a male classmate.
As political tensions escalate to a boiling point between the minority Tamils and the majority Sinhalese, the young boy comes of age in a society and family that doesn't embrace difference outside of societal norms.