“Quick Gun Murugun — Mis-adventures of an Indian Cowboy”, which is set to release on August 28 in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu in India and in an international version created for a global audience, has been backed by Phatfish Productions and Fox STAR Studios.
“Rascal, I will teach you how to behave,” he says, with that South Indian intonation, at the smallest error anyone makes, but the rebuke is enough to make everyone burst into peals of laughter. Quick Gun Murugun is back to make life miserable for the rascals and this time he is no longer a 60-second spot on television. Directed by Shashanka Ghosh, creative head during the launch of Channel [v] in India, and conceived by writer Rajesh Devraj, the first ever Indian superhero is now kicking up a storm internationally on the silver screen.
Telugu comedy king Rajendra Prasad plays him to the hilt. Dressed in a green silk shirt and orange pants, boots, leopard-print waistcoat and a cowboy hat plus twin guns, the South Indian cowboy can’t wait to tell the world “Mind it!”
“Quick Gun Murugun — Mis-adventures of an Indian Cowboy”, which is set to release on August 28 in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu in India and in an international version created for a global audience, has been backed by Phatfish Productions and Fox STAR Studios which is distributing it internationally. The film has already been screened at the London Film Festival and the Indian Film Festival of LA. Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox STAR Studios India, says, “We are proud of this film since it is the first ever Indian film that was originally conceived as a TV concept and, second, the character Quick Gun Murugun became iconic post-Channel [v] with Shah Rukh’s impersonation and the Pepsi commercial with Dhoni. In fact, we are so happy with the outcome that we are ready to begin work on the sequel which I proposed should be tentatively titled ‘The Good, The Bad and The Idli’,” he adds, laughing. Though mobile downloads such as ring tones and caller tunes of QGM’s quirky one-liners are already out, plans are on to bring out merchandise surrounding the character too.
When it comes to talking about pulling the character out of TV and introducing it on celluloid, director Ghosh recounts it was a mammoth effort which took a good 15 years. “Within a year of introducing QGM on [v], Devi (Devraj) and I were ready with a script for a movie. I took it to the most unusual thinking director of those times, Ram Gopal Varma and he simply asked me ‘what is this’. He told me it was way ahead of times and asked me to wait. After that, I took it to 20 different producers who fell of their chairs laughing but said ‘No’ eventually. I was insistent it should be part-Tamil and part-English, as QGM would actually speak. Then Anand Surapur of Phatfish (they had worked together in [v] earlier) told me he’d make it. And I found a producer,” he says. Whether the glint in his eye conveys happiness or the pain of a long journey, one knows not.
So here he is. A cowboy, ironically out to save the cows, on a mission of vegetarianism. With characters such as Locket Lover (Anu Menon popularly known as Lola Kutty), Mango Dolly (Rambha) and villains called Rice Plate Reddy and Rowdy MBA, QGM is hoping his charisma charms audiences in the country. Rajendra Prasad, who was suggested for the role by Phatfish’s Surapur, says it is among the most challenging roles he has done. “It was almost like the Seventies when I was just out of the film institute. I worked as my director told me to and I had the same amount of sincerity as a young actor. I have lasted in cinema for the last 32 years and for an actor to be able to do this he has to give the audience something new every time. Which is why I believe in characters a lot, not in star value.”
Remind him about SRK’s Rascalla act in “Om Shanti Om” and the actor quips, “That was just an advertisement for our film. Like the Dhoni ad for Pepsi!” adding in trademark QGM style, “Now the original has come.”