Blue Star was a considerable break for Shanthnu, who played Rajesh, a egoistic young cricketer navigating the world of caste politics in the film. Set in Arakkonam, the film follows Ranjith (Ashok Selvan), Rajesh and their friends who dream not of reaching national or international stadiums but just playing cricket without facing any humiliation. This aspect was what made Blue Star relatable to everyone, says Shanthnu in an interview with Film Companion.
“Sometimes when you start making cricket films about protagonists achieving big things in Ranji Trophy or the international stage, it may not connect to one set of the audience. Blue Star is about the life of a common man, about people who are underrated and do not have such opportunities in the rural side.” The anti-caste sports drama, co-starring Keerthi Pandian and Prithvi Rajan, is helmed by debutant S Jayakumar. Since the film is set in the 90s and the characters are in their early 20s, Ashok Selvan, Prithvi Rajan (who plays Sam, Ranjith’s brother) and Shanthnu had to train hard and reduce weight to play their parts in the film.
Reminiscing some fun memories during the shoot, Shanthnu speaks of director S Jayakumar’s brutal candour. “Jayakumar is a very honest person. For instance, he'd tell every person who auditioned for the roles, “Only if he reduced the weight, I’d even let Shanthnu play Rajesh in the film.” It’s one thing to say that to me, but he kept saying it to everyone and I used to wonder if I was really finalised for the role,” the actor laughs. “We used to go jogging, then go to the gym, and then play cricket in the evenings. We had all learnt professional cricket at some point in our lives. So Jayakumar even got videos of us playing cricket, understood our body language and helped us change our attitude and actions to suit the personality of aspiring cricketers of Arakkonam in the 90s.”
The actor tells us that collaborating with a debutant might be a gamble one does with trust. And that trust comes after reading their scripts. “Irrespective of how a person can narrate the film, it all comes down to the writing at the end of the day.” The actor reveals that he once used to select scripts purely based on narration. “I started reading scripts only recently, after Paava Kadhaigal (2020)." The actor was part of Sudha Kongara's film in the anthology, alongside Kalidas Jayaram. "This could probably be why some of these films didn’t work out. After I started reading scripts, I realised the importance of writing.”