Even though he may be making his debut in Bollywood with the upcoming film Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, the fact remains that he is already being hailed as the ‘next big thing’ in Bollywood, thanks to the remarkable trailer of the film which released this month. We are indeed talking about R S Prasanna, the director of Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. A thorough gentleman at heart, he is one of those rare breeds of men who will not think twice before speaking their minds. Despite Shubh Mangal Saavdhan being a remake of a hit Tamil film, all the eyes are totally set and trained on the film as it touches upon a subject which has never been attempted before in Bollywood.
Satish Sundaresan of KoiMoi met up with the ace film maker R S Prasanna for an exclusive interview. Here are the excerpts.
Your Twitter handle states that you are a filmmaker, writer, reader, fan of economics and politics. How exactly would you be want to be known as?
Since a good storyteller needs to have all of these qualities, I would be want to be known as a good storyteller.
What exactly is the premise of the film? Is it about Erectile Dysfunction or the ‘long’ and ‘short’ of it, if you know what exactly I mean?
From the surface of it, it is about Erectile Dysfunction, but let me tell you do not judge a book by its cover! (smiles). In a nutshell, the movie is about a guy who is not able to perform in bed and he is not able to find out the reason. The man is not able to get his d*** up!
Is there a message for such men who shy away from talking about the topic?
Firstly, it is not about ‘such men’, as though it is a disease or something of that sort. Even though the movie speaks about manhood, it’s not about the organ which is not below your belt, but, it is about the organ which is above your belt, your heart! Standing up in bed is not as important as standing up for your girl.
Is there a suspense that is waiting to be revealed when the film ends or can you speak about it right now?
The film’s ending is something that you need to watch. Like all films, the end of this film is also climax. I cannot say more than that (smiles).
That means you are not sounding preachy with this film?
Not at all! Being preachy never works. Even in temples and churches, people are tired of preaching.
Was it a conscious decision to make your debut in Hindi with a remake of a Tamil film?
It was not at all planned. My wife is a staunch believer of Vaishhnodevi Mata. She says that you do not plan a trip to Vaishhnodevi, it just happens. Of course, we all want to go. Still, they say that “Maata ka bulaava aana chahiye.” Likewise, Bollywood ka bhi ek bulaawa aana chahiye”.
Is it true that you did not want any of the crew or actors to watch the original film, to avoid confusion?
Very true. Because of the script being different, I just did not want any kind of confusion.
Despite Shubh Mangal Saavdhan handling a tricky topic, it manages to target a family audience. That must have been quite a task! It was the only task that we had!
Since Shubh Mangal Saavdhan is a remake of a Tamil film, how different is the Hindi one from the Tamil version?
It is different, yet, it is similar. Around 90% of the scenes have been changed in both the films.
Did you try to commercialize Shubh Mangal Saavdhan for the Bollywood loving audience?
As far as commercializing Shubh Mangal Saavdhan for the Bollywood loving audience is concerned, let me tell you that the basic nature of the film is humour and not the comedy. I firmly believe that humour comes from the situation and comedy comes from the lines. All the scenes in the film are humorous.
As far as both the films are concerned, how different are Mudit Sharma from Gurgaon and Raghu from Anna Nagar, from each other?
They are very rooted and true to their respective characters. Organically, they are very sweet and innocent.
Was there any particular reason to cast Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar as the lead of Shubh Mangal Saavdhan?
First of all, they are terrific actors. There is no denying that. For me, they were two actors, who have done Vicky Donor and Dum Laga Ke…, which speaks a lot about them as well as their sensibilities. They found their success in the most unconventional route.
If Ayushmann Khurrana had not done Vicky Donor or had not debuted in Bollywood, who would have been your ideal choice to play the role?
A young Kamal Haasan would have been an ideal choice.
Bhumi’s last film Toilet Ek Prem Katha touched 100 crores recently. Do you think that the ‘Bhumi magic’ will rub off Shubh Mangal Saavdhan as well by making it touch the magical figure of 100 crores?
It is always the film that does 100 crores, not the actors. At the end of the day what matters is not the figures, but, have the audiences loved it. Even if a man comes to me and tells that the film should touch 100 crores, that itself means 100 crores to me.
Besides the advice of not to ‘Bollywood-ise the subject’, was there anything else that Anand L. Rai told you?
Yes, he just told me to own the film with the same honesty and sensitivity.