Director Shashank Ghosh talks about making “Quick Gun Murugun” that releases this Friday

The fastest gun in town may be here now and gone in a flash, but Quick Gun Murugun has more staying power than that. The Indian ‘cowboy’ that made his advent in the 1960s in popular South Indian comedy films has returned, via a chequered history, to the silver screen, and this time in Hindi. The film directed by Shashank Ghosh released this Friday.

In the 1960s and ’70s, South Indian film directors including Kannan first made these films. This cowboy was different from the Western cowboy. He was called cowboy because he was a protector of cows, as the cow in India is considered a sacred animal. He was also given a ‘white’ cowboy hat to flaunt. He would ride a horse, dress outrageously — in green shirt, yellow leopard print jacket, orange pants, with a pink hanky around the neck and a pink wallet – speak wittily but leave an impact with a subtle message behind his ludicrous acts.

Riding on the popularity of Quick Gun Murugun, in 1994, Channel V made an ad film to promote the channel. Its writer was Rajesh Devraj. It became a rage among the viewers. Partly, it was the channel’s tribute to the cowboy series . From Rajnikanth to Shah Rukh Khan to Dhoni, all donned this role at least once to gain popularity. He became an icon when Chidambaram produced his first budget (2001), a leading newspaper giving him a full page exploring different aspects of the budget. An established Indian magazine did a survey of India’s 15 most popular characters, and Quick Gun secured a place there too.

And now again Quick Gun Murugun has inspired Ghosh, who made a name with his comedy film Waisa Bhi Hota Hai with Arshad Warsi and Sandhya Mridul four years ago. But Ghosh has gone a step further by bringing him back to the big screen.

Quick Gun Murugun, says Ghosh, “being middle class, is driven by the sense of duty — saving cows and damsels in distress. As he would indulge in the epic battle of good versus evil on any issue, this time too he involves himself in the clash between veg and non-veg. He endorses vegetarianism and takes the restaurants serving non-vegetarian food head-on.”

The film, Ghosh says, isn’t loud but funny. Though Quick Gun speaks English with a typical South Indian accent, Ghosh says he didn’t want him to look like Mehmood of Padosan or Kishore Kumar singing “Aik Chatur Nar”.

“I have given him a wooden look with a Clint Eastwood touch. He isn’t chatty. He speaks powerful one-liners only.”

He adds, “Quick Gun is contemporised by taking up the latest issues.” He feels the audiences will be engrossed in funny situations like kidnapping mothers for bringing the mother’s touch to the recipes. Quick Gun is a a local hero, who gets killed fighting for the cause of vegetarianism but returns to take his revenge. Nasser, the Tamil superstar, plays the villain, while Rambha makes a comeback as Quick Gun’s love interest Mango Dolly.

A former adman, Ghosh says, “Earlier, Rajesh and I struggled a lot to make a feature film on this character but didn’t find producers. When we told them the story and how Murugan would carry it, they would fall off their chair laughing but not take it up.”

Finally they approached Fox, and Quick Gun got his silver bullet!