When it comes to interviews, Prabhudheva is reticent. But Harshikaa Udasi gets him to talk about his upcoming Any Body Can Dance, falling into an image trap as director and more
Dance? Yes. Direct? Yes. Act? Yes. Interview? No. But you are the protagonist! Uh well, ok. Arguably the most reluctant interviewee, Prabhudheva is in the middle of his most unpleasant task of filmmaking — film promotion! But his friend choreographer-director Remo D’Souza’s most ambitious project is up for release, and Prabhudheva is, quite literally, putting his best foot forward. He hasn’t acted in a full-length part for a Hindi film for a decade now, and yet he put all his apprehensions regarding language and acceptability aside when Remo came over with his script. How was he convinced? “No convincing needed. Remo brought me the concept, and asked me if I would play the lead. It was simple for me; he asked me and I said yes,” says Bollywood’s most wanted man-of-the-moment having given back-to-back blockbuster hits with Wanted and Rowdy Rathore.
ABCD — Any Body Can Dance (Hindi and Tamil) is by no means a small film, even though it is being released under UTV Spotboy meant for high-content small-budget films. It is India’s first ever 3D dance film also starring Kay Kay Menon, ace choreographer Ganesh Acharya, dance reality show winners Salman Yusuf Khan, Dharmendra Yelande and international dancer-actor of So You Think You Can Dance-fame Lauren Gottlieb.
Prabhudheva plays Sarvesh Kalangutkar, regarded as India’s best dancer, who gets ousted from his own dance academy by his wily business partner. Just as he decides to retire from the big city, he chances upon a group of dancers preparing for the upcoming Ganpati Dance Battle and takes them under his wing to groom them to be the best dance group ever. “It’s a tough film to make. I mean, a dance film in our country where formula films work. And that too in 3D. It’s all to Remo’s credit. Also to UTV. The film is quite a big-budget film by normal standards. Remo has shot 10 songs. The only formula it uses possibly is that of the underdogs,” he says. About the scope of the film, Prabhu says, “Let’s be positive. Dance reality shows have created a new trend in the country. They have a huge fan following and their participants and those acting in ABCD are talented, hardworking and popular.”
Working with Ganesh Acharya and Remo D’Souza, ace choreographers themselves, has been a great experience, he says. “It’s been super. We would just meet on the sets, do our thing and enjoy. It was nothing much. It was up to Remo then. He had the challenge of putting it all together in the film.”
The man himself is not getting as much space to experiment with genres. After Wanted and Rowdy Rathore, producers have been asking him to make masala action flicks only! “Even if I want to make something different, I can’t. The demand is only for these kind of films,” says Prabhudheva, alluding to the action-comedy-thriller space. Cajoled to reveal what he’d really like to make, he surprises us with, “Horror. I really am waiting to make a horror film. No idea when I will be able to make that, but my next film Ramaiya Vasta Vaiya (Shruti Hassan and newcomer Girish Taurani), the Hindi remake of my directorial debut Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana (Telugu), is a romantic drama.”
Prabhudheva’s next film with Shahid Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha (not Namak, as widely mentioned) will go on the floors next month. Asked how it feels to be Bollywood’s most-sought-after director — by producers and actors alike, the man says, “It’s all thanks to God.”