KV Anand's Kaappaan, which opened to mixed reviews in 2019, is now in the news again after locust swarms entered India. In the film, a crooked businessman unleashes locusts to destroy the livelihood of farmers so that he can take over their lands. The character was played by Boman Irani.
The film had Suriya in the lead, along with several other stars like Mohanlal, Arya and Sayyeshaa. While there was a diabolical reason for the entry of locusts in the film, in real life, the swarms have been attributed to climate change, winter storms and pre-monsoon rainfall. Currently, the locusts in India have spread to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Following this, several memes on social media about how Kaappaan "predicted" the locust swarms have been doing the rounds. These memes also point out other predictions from Tamil cinema which have sort of come true, from 7aam Arivu to Uriyadi 2.
However, locust swarms are not new to India and the country has seen such invasions at least since 1997.
In an interview to India Today, KV Anand revealed that he got the idea after he witnessed a locust swarm many years ago when he had gone to Madagascar for a film. Incidentally, that film too starred Suriya!
"I visited Madagascar nine years ago for the pre-production work on Suriya's Maattrraan. I was on location-scouting. While I was travelling in a car with my team, I saw thousands of locusts approaching us. It became difficult for us to drive and we had to stop for hours for it to get cleared. That's when I inquired about them to a local resident there and gathered a lot of details. Later, I incorporated the idea in my film Kaappaan," he said.
He further added, "I also did extensive research on the subject before working on Kaappaan. There are a lot of references in the Bible and Quran on locust invasion. In fact, locusts played a major role in migration and other changes in civilisation. The worst part is that these insects can attract a lot of rats and can indirectly spread disease. Mumbai became the victim of a locust attack in the period of 1903 to 1906. History will always repeat. We have to act fast and control it."
While locusts do not harm human beings, they devour crops at a very fast rate. And considering they also reproduce quickly, a swarm has to be brought under control before it does severe damage.
In Kaappaan, Suriya played a Special Protection Group (SPG) officer who guards the Prime Minister, played by Mohanlal. Arya played the PM's son while Sayyeshaa was the PM's secretary.