Venkat Prabhu gives his take on the violence and anti-social themes his films depict
Chennai 600028, Saroja and Goa all of them have been dubbed and released in Andhra Pradesh. Director Venkat feels if he had his way he would have made them into bilinguals but now onwards he wishes to shoot a larger portion in Hyderabad, Vishakapatanam and other areas as well to bring a semblance of nativity to his stories.
A little tired from speaking to the media incessantly after the success of Mankatha (Gambler in Telugu), the director describes this film as his big ticket and for Ajith a landmark movie, the 50th in the actor's career. Was it easy roping in so many stars and artistes? “It was hard, looking back I wonder how I pulled it off. Getting Arjun, Trisha's dates weren't easy. Nagarjuna did not have dates, he wanted to work from April and we wanted to begin it right away. Finally, Arjun has suited the role very well as a cop. The twist in the end worked very well for him because he has this patriotic image. Vaibhav came in because Manchu Manoj had a shoulder injury and went for a surgery. Vaibhav was surprised when I asked him if he could join the shoot immediately. My boys trust me very much, I don't narrate the story to them.”
Venkat Prabhu thinks the film worked because there hasn't been a heist film in Tamil for a long time and most robberies in the movie are shown towards the climax. This time around, he showed it in the midst of the drama, and that seems to have worked.
He adds. “Mankatha is the game of cards. Stealing diamonds or burglary in a bank would have been clichéd and I struck upon the idea of routing the money in an alternate method. A cop gets info about huge money being transferred through an owner of a theatre, to his local theatre which is being used as a gambling parlour. People say it's a remake of the Hindi film Jannat; match fixing etc but that isn't true. I would have insisted on a bilingual if Nagarjuna were to be a part of it.” The director is often accused of glorifying anti-social themes but he has an answer for that too. He quips, “I don't pretend that anti-social things are not happening, I show it but there are no explicit sex scenes, violence is moderate and there is no gore. This is my first action film, and there is some gunfire. I even want my daughter to watch my films and make sure people aren't embarrassed, they are entertained. There is no point if they come to the theatre and close their eyes, turn their head away at certain scenes.”
What made him choose Ajith? He remarks, “Ajith chose me…I made the script without him and …it all happened over a phone call. I know his pluses and minus well, in 2003 I even acted in a film with him, he's very supportive.”