In a candid chat with Pinkvilla, Priyadarshan opens up about the idea of directing the first sequel of his career, the reason of directly comedies in Bollywood and the revival of cinema halls in South with Mohanlal fronted Marakkar.
Priyadarshan makes a return to direction in Bollywood after 8 years with Hungama 2. It is his 41st year in the film industry and the director is in no mood to stop. Ask Priyadarshan about being relevant for over four decades and he smiles, “My destiny, luck and prayers of parents and friends.” He adds, “I was always a very good audience and hence, I have been making every kind of film. For every film that I make, I ensure that there is an element of entertainment – be it in the serious space or comedy.”
Priyan believes that writing is the key to the success of any film. “A good screenplay will work even if shot badly, but a bad screenplay will never work. The most painful aspect of filmmaking is writing the screenplay. Nothing worries me more than writing,” he informs. Hungama 2 is the first sequel of Priyadarshan’s career. The director has been flooded with offers to spin a sequel to his hit films, however, he often preferred to stay away. “I didn’t do Hera Pheri 2 because I felt that story ended with Hera Pheri and it would be difficult to do justice to the legacy of the original film. Same is the case with Garam Masala and many other films. But here, we are not continuing the story, but making a film in the same genre. Hungama 2 is like Hungama when it comes to treatment, but they are two different stories,” he explains.
Prod him to elaborate on the similarities of the treatment and he reveals, “The treatment is about misunderstanding. So the screenplay technique is the same. Let’s say, since both the films are high on Hungama, we decided to call it Hungama 2.” The film featuring Paresh Rawal, Shilpa Shetty, Meezaan and Pranitha Subhash premieres soon on Disney+Hotstar. It was originally designed as a theatrical film and Priyan is a little disappointed that it’s not arrive on the big screen. “I won’t lie, I was a little disappointed with the decision of direct to digital release. I belong to old school, so we all want our film to be consumed by people sitting together. I won’t get that pleasure of collective laughter with this film. But, at the same time, I feel it’s high time to make films for the digital world that can be consumed by the entire family and I am sure that will happen with Hungama 2. There is no vulgarity,” he insists adding further that he is looking to do more films in Hindi going forward.
I won’t lie, I was a little disappointed with the decision of direct to digital release.I belong to old school, so we all want our film to be consumed by people sitting together. I won’t get that pleasure of collective laughter with this film.
Buzz is, Akshaye Khanna, who played Jeetu in the first part, makes a guest appearance in the sequel. Priyan smiles, “Is it? You will have to see the film for that. The entire conflict of Hungama rests in the mixture of mystery and humor. The humor fades if the mystery is out.” Priyan has a Pan Indian film, Marakkar, that’s been waiting for a theatrical release for over a year now. The cast is spearheaded by Mohanlal with Arjun Sarja, Suniel Shetty, Keerthy Suresh, Sudeep, Ashok Selvan among others. The film was rewarded with multiple National Awards recently and Priyan is confident that the audiences would love the world created in that film.
“It’s on a scale bigger than Bahubali. That was a cooked-up story, this is real history, about India’s first Naval Commander. It has won the National Award for Best Feature Film and three four more. I am happy that father and son got it together, it’s a proud moment. We have held it for one and a half years and we are planning to release it on August 12,” he informs, adding further that the exhibition sector in Kerala and Tamil Nadu have stood in solidarity with the film. “It will set the box-office on fire. The theatres in Kerala and Tamil Nadu have agreed that they will not release any film opposite Marakkar for 21 days. The associations have agreed because they know it’s one film which can bring people back to the cinema halls.”
While Priyan has constantly dabbled the genres in the Malayalam industry – from comedy to drama and thriller – he has preferred the comic space in Bollywood. Prod him on the same, and he avers, “I still believe, Aakrosh is one of my finest films till date. I started direction in Bollywood with films like Gardish and Virasat, then I moved onto comedies. In doing so, everyone wanted me to just make comedies. When Tezz and Rangrezz didn’t work, I realized that people just want to see me make comedies. I explore all genres in Malayalam, but here, people expect entertainment out of me. So, I thought, why should I go the other way.”
I started direction in Bollywood with films like Gardish and Virasat, then I moved onto comedies. In doing so, everyone wanted me to just make comedies. When Tezz and Rangrezz didn’t work, I realized that people just want to see me make comedies. I explore all genres in Malayalam, but here, people expect entertainment out of me
While Priyan has made comedies with his favorite in Bollywood, Akshay Kumar, he has explored the serious space with actors like Shah Rukh Khan (Billu), Salman Khan (Kyun Ki) and Ajay Devgn (Aakrosh, Tezz). Was it a conscious decision to not make comedies with them? He answers, “Yes, it was because they all felt the films in question were right for them. If you ask me, I really enjoyed working in Billu with Shah Rukh (Khan) and Irrfan (Khan). But maybe, the audience was expecting too much of SRK in the film and hence, it didn’t do well. Today, it’s appreciated globally. Some films become big post-release, and Billu is one of them. Even Chup Chup Ke (with Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor) was an average hit, but it’s loved today.”
After Hungama 2, Priyan intends to start his next with Akshay Kumar, which he describes as a comedy film with emotions. “It was supposed to begin this year, but due to the pandemic, it has been pushed to early 2022. The idea is locked, it’s an out and out comedy with emotions,” he concludes.
Also Read| EXCLUSIVE: Priyadarshan on his next with Akshay Kumar: An out and out comedy with emotions, begins next year
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