FRIDAY REVIEW

Shock treatment

M.L. NARASIMHAN

Director Harish Shankar with Ramu.

Director Harish Shankar with Ramu.  

Hits and misses apart, whenever he announces a film, it spins headlines all over the country. After a long hiatus, the sensational director is back to making a film in his mother tongue. And this time around, Ram Gopal Varma has let the project be directed by a young talent - Harish Shankar, a find of the film's hero Raviteja.

Varma was so impressed with Raviteja's performance in Idiot, that he wished to make a film with him immediately. And that was how Shock got moving. When he found a suitable subject for the macho star with the common man looks, he entrusted the job of finding a suitable director to the actor himself. This because he was tied down with current assignments that include a Hollywood production. Ravi promptly introduced Harish Shankar to the ace director. Harish had earlier worked as an assistant director in one of Raviteja's films.

ENTERTAINING THRILLER Raviteja and Jyothika in Ram Gopal Varma's next 'Shock'ing venture

ENTERTAINING THRILLER Raviteja and Jyothika in Ram Gopal Varma's next 'Shock'ing venture  

"After hearing the story, Harish expressed his views frankly and came up with some very good suggestions. I was impressed by his frankness and sincerity. After watching the edited version of the first half (of the film), I knew that a director was born. You find his stamp of quality in every aspect of the film. He has even designed the publicity brochures of the film," says Varma.

"Shock is not in the horror genre, it is a pure mass-oriented commercial entertainer," chips in Suresh Kondeti of S.K. Pictures, who is co-producing the movie with Varma. Suresh's first film was the huge hit Premisthe, which was dubbed from Shankar's Kathal. "I was such a great fan of Ram Gopal Varma's films that I watched Shiva 30 times at Annapurna Talkies, Palakol, during my college days," continues Suresh. "It is really thrilling to think that I have rubbed shoulders with two all-time greats of Indian film industry - Shankar and Ram Gopal Varma. When Premisthe became such a huge hit that it celebrated 50-day runs in 100 centres, Shankar heaped praises on me for the kind of promotion we did to take the film to the people."

Incidentally, even Varma was much impressed by the promotion campaign for Premisthe. Suresh says he is fortunate to have got Varma's green signal for Shock. "There are no horror elements in Shock," he reveals. "It is a thriller as well as an entertainer set against a strong love story. I am sharing Ramu's notes on the subject with you. After falling in love with the heroine (Jyothika), the hero undergoes a lot of emotional upheavals and a transition takes place in him. This is followed by a series of shocking incidents that unravel one by one leading to a thrilling climax. You can feel the intensity of the young director (Harish) at every step in emotional action scenes. The performance by Ravitheja was mind blowing. Tabu plays a key role as a journalist." Suresh is optimistic about Jyothika completing her hat trick of big hits in Telugu after Tagore and Mass. Perhaps, he has a point. After all, Jyothika's last two dubbed films Manmadhan and Chandramukhi, too have done well on the Telugu silver screen, haven't they?

As for Jyothika, she is very impressed by the script and is already planning to produce the Tamil version of Shock with Surya as the hero. "I haven't heard of such an exciting story in my career," says the doe-eyed actress, whose performance in the climax sequences from the film Chandramukhi still haunts film-goers.

Varma says he has not yet decided whether to dub the Telugu version in Hindi or remake it by rewriting the script with changes as suggested by Harish. He says he will arrive at a decision after watching Harish's Shock. Meanwhile the ace director is busy with his current Hindi project that has the James pair, Mohit and Nisha Kothari, besides holding discussions in U.S. for his debut Hollywood production Within. Shock is scheduled to hit the screens by January and knowing Varma, the box looks like it is in for another jolt!

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