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Priyadarshan – Aces up his sleeve


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He is a director with many aces up his sleeve. From Malayalam to Tamil and now Hindi, for the past few decades, he has been making films in several languages, with most of them being acclaimed and bringing in the moolah at the box office too. RINKU GUPTA met up with PRIYADARSHAN, the man who discovered the comic potential of Sunil Shetty, Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal and gave them a new image. Apart from films like Kala Pani and Virasat, he has comedies like Hungama, Hulchul, Hera Pheri, Kyon Ki, Malamal Weekly and Garam Masala to his credit and sure has his fingers on the pulse of the audiences and keeps the funny bone of the nation tickled with his films.We spoke to him to discover his thoughts and what makes him tick on the filmi scene …


RG: What are you involved with besides films?
P: I have just completed an ad with actor Surya for ITC’s biscuit brand.

RG: What are the films you are working on?
P: Chup Chup Ke with Kareena and Shahid is my film and then there is Bhagam Bhag , a Pink Panther type of thriller with humour in it. It’s got Lara Dutta, Govinda, Jackie Shroff and others.
I am also doing a film on piracy where I am working with a newcomer. It’s going to be the first of its kind on this subject.

RG: Kareena seems to be a mascot of sorts with you…
P: Well I am very comfortable working with Kareena. She is very receptive, professional and comes on time. She has a good approach to her work.

RG: Salman too is in a lot of your films…
P: We share a different ratio altogether. We have a liking for each other. I feel he is at the receiving end of many things because he is a celebrity.

RG: You have done a lot of vernacular films before you hit Bollywood…
P: Yes, I wrote scripts and did Malayalam and Tamil films before. Now I am doing a Malayalam script again for director Hariharan. I started my career as a scriptwriter actually! In Tamil I did Snehidiye, Gopura Vasal and Lesa Lesa and three Telugu films as well.
Now Southern films, especially tamil films are improving both content wise and technically too. Lots of young blood is good for the industry.

RG: You are one of the few Southern directors who has been very successful consistently in Bollywood in recent times…
P: Yes. The actors all feel very comfortable with me. I write my own screenplay and Neeraj Vohra has been the writer for all my films. I can read and write Hindi so maybe that helps too!

RG: After all the success of Malamal Weekly and others, where do you see yourself going from here?
P: The success of Malamal was a big boost for me. If you make a good film, the cast doesn’t really matter. You don’t need big stars. People identified with the characters of that UP village.
After my current films on the floors, I plan to do three small films out of which one will be in Tamil. It’s going to be of 1 hour 20 minutes duration on the weavers of Kanchipuram. This is not a commercial film but something to express myself. The other two will be in Hindi.
In two more years, I want to be out of commercial cinema. Everyone has a saturation point and when your voice is still good, you should stop singing so to speak!

RG: Who are the comedians you admire?
P: Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy are inspiring. Mohanlal is one of the finest actors with a comic touch. I have changed the image of Sunil Shetty, Paresh Rawal and Akshay Kumar and they are fine comic actors today. I knew their potential.

RG: How tough is it to make people laugh?
P: It’s very tough to make people laugh. But the flip side is that when the audience is in fear or is crying through a film, the filmmaker cannot see the reaction so soon as in comedy, where people laugh out loud if its funny. So that way, its more rewarding when you succeed.
But I think that it’s a social duty to make people laugh and forget their worries for the time that they are in the cinema hall. The world is full of misery as it is…

RG: What is good cinema according to you?
P: Well, a good film should keep you glued to your seat. It should make you forget all your worries and yourself even.

RG: You have made about 62 films in five languages, worked with major actors and are still going strong. Do you have any dream project in mind?
P: Yes, I have been in this industry for nearly 25 years now. I started in 1981 as a writer then moved on to directing my first Malayalam film in 1983. The rest is history. My dream film is going to happen in 8 years!

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Responses to Priyadarshan – Aces up his sleeve

  1. 1 sreeraam

    DEAR SIR,

    I AM SREERAAM, FROM TRIVANDRUM. GOT “B-GRADE” IN ACTING, ACTED IN 2 TAMIL MOVIES “KADALAR KADHAI”- DIRECTOR JAMEEL AND “VELLIPUVE”- DIRECTOR JEEVAGURU. TILL DATE I HAVEN’T ACTED IN ANY OF THE MALAYALAM MOVIES, BUT EXPECTING A POSITIVE REPLY FROM YOUR SIDE TO ACT IN YOUR MOVIES.

    THANKS AND REGARDS,

    SREERAM.

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