Bharath’s upcoming movie, Simba, is set to be the first Tamil stoner film ever released. Yup, you read that right. Stoner or 420 films are movies that revolve around the use of cannabis. This genre of films may be taboo among the masses of devout Tamil film fans, but it is about time the controversial topic is addressed, according to director Aravind Sridhar.

Simba stars Bharath, Premgi Amaren, Bhanu Sri Mehra, Swathi Deekshith, Ramana and Swetha Ashok. The film is satire, a dark comedy, and is based on a lonely stoner’s daily life, and how a neighbour turns his world upside down. The music for Simba has been composed by Vishal Chandrasekar.

Sridhar sticks to his guns in an interview with the Deccan Chronicle, “I have not glorified marijuana smoking in my film. Nothing in the film encourages or advocates the habit. The story is woven around a guy (played by Bharath) who is a habitual smoker of ganja. So, nothing is controversial about the movie.”

The director revealed that the script for Simba is based on a true story. Bharath was hesitant to take on the role at first, due to the viability of such a story in the conservative Tamil industry, but he later agreed.

Simba began shooting in 2015, and wrapped up the following year. Unfortunately, the film was delayed due to the post production work. A teaser trailer was released in October 2017, and a second teaser was released exactly a year later. Sridhar recalls that he wondered at one point if Simba will ever be released. It was later revealed that the delay was caused by a meddlesome third party, which actor Vishal and lawyer Balan helped him sort out.

Premgi Amaren revealed a few years ago that this is one of his quirkiest roles yet, “I play Bharath’s grandfather and a dog in this film. This movie has a wacky screenplay in which Bharath is shown to be hallucinating. I appear in human form only to Bharath, while others see me as a dog,”

Simba will hit the screens on the 25th of January.