Chennai Parkour enthusiast speaks to ‘NT’ about his passion

Chennai: Prabu Mani (36), a resident of Baby Nagar, Chennai is a Parkour enthusiast. He is one of the founding members of The Parkour Circle – an active community of traceurs in the city. Amid his work of constructing a natural landscape for children in a school in Besant Avenue, Prabu shares with News Today his passion for Parkour.

‘Parkour is an exploration of the environment in whatever way you can, under whatever capacity one has. There is no particular fitness level or expertise that is required to start off’, he says.

Parkour started off as an exploration of urban environment or space. A traceur tries to cross it in the most efficient way possible, he explains. Prabu has been practicing it for 15 years.

He saw it for the first time in a short video from the movie District 13 on Orkut – an online social media which was operated by Google.

‘It was an accidental viewing of the two-and-half minute clip which got me gripped. At that time, I did not know that different people in the city were trying it. When word spread through social media we all grouped and started practicing at Besant Nagar beach and eventually found more practising spaces’, he says. Prabu also trains those interested, mainly to prevent people from getting into mishaps.

‘We invite people to get trained so that we prevent accidents from happening. If they are left to themselves they will try jumping from buildings and hurt themselves. So when it is done as a community we talk about safety aspects. We want people to try Parkour with guidance.’

His thrilling Parkour experience was when he climbed the bars of a foot-over bridge in Velacheri. ‘I did it like a monkey’, he quips. So do they often get into trouble for trying Parkour at Velacheri station, parks and bridges? ‘Of course, he says, ‘Some policemen understand what we are doing, some do not.’

His community work with architects on how they can redesign buildings with a better understanding of urban spaces to initiate movements. They also take part in street theater with parkour movements to tell stories and also collaborate with Carnatic musicians to understand rhythm.

He has also been part of an array of films including 10 Enradhukulla, Kaaki Sattai and Sutta Kadhai as a stunt person and choreographer. For details, contact 98848 97546.


Naomi N