Susi Ganesan opens his innings in Bollywood with Shortcut Romeo, the Hindi remake of his Tamil hit Thiruttu Payale.
He is an engineer who knows that logic works. He is a writer, once a journalist, who knows that creativity is an unstoppable urge. Susi Ganesan hopes that in the big bad world of Bollywood, he can keep both sides of his personality intact as he readies for his first release Shortcut Romeo, starring Neil Nitin Mukesh, Ameesha Patel and Puja Gupta, on June 21.
“Shortcut Romeo will influence a lot of decisions in my life, including the kind of films I make, but it will not decide whether I stay in or move out of Mumbai. I have been in Mumbai for two years now with my family and I will make at least five to six films before I turn to something else. As an engineer, I know that the first time is an experiment, a learning ground. Hence I am in no hurry to shift back to Tamil cinema. I am even planning to make English films. I hate monotony,” says a smiling Susi, when we meet up at his suburban Andheri office, central to hectic Bollywood activity.
Susi’s Shortcut Romeo is the Hindi remake of his Tamil film Thiruttu Payale (2006) which was a commercial success. “I was initially in a dilemma over whether I should go for an all-new script and direct my Hindi debut or work on Thiruttu Payale. My biggest challenge in Bollywood is Hindi. I am trying to master the language and its nuances. So I thought it’d be best if I worked with something familiar. This is a story in sync with today’s times when everyone from a politician to a layman wants to earn a quick buck, means notwithstanding,” he says.
The filmmaker says it was difficult to remain focussed while shooting for Shortcut Romeo as he would keep going back to what he and his actors did in the original. “I had expected it to be easy and a little boring too. But I was so wrong. There was constant pressure to bring in newness yet retain the soul of my concept.” Having his wife Manjari as not just the executive producer but also as his round-the-clock sounding board helped the director immensely. “She’s wonderful. She criticises me and encourages me when needed. She is my reality check. I count on her opinion when it comes to work.” Asked what she thinks of Shortcut Romeo, Susi beams, “She thinks it is 10 times better and bigger than the original!”
After his films have won him State awards, it seems like he is eyeing the Rs.100-crore Bollywood jackpot this time. “Though I am inclined towards art films, when it comes to execution, I think, I strike a fine balance between art and commerce. What I wish to convey through Shortcut Romeo is that corruption affects not just the nation but also families. The crux of my film is one scene where the father, a corrupt man, influences his son. But if I make that into a full-length film, I will not survive.”