My films have to be happy and entertaining – Prabhu Dheva
Prabhu Dheva, the shy filmmaker-of-few-words, opens up about his latest film, Singh Is Bliing, and what makes him tick as a director.
How different is Singh Is Bliing from your previous films with Akshay Kumar (Rowdy Rathore)?
The only difference is that Akshay Kumar is playing a Sardar character (named Raftaar Singh) after a long time. But otherwise it is like the usual fun films that we have made in the past.
Singh is King was a hit film. Are you worried that Singh Is Bliing will be compared with it?
Of course, there will be comparisons because of the name, but my film isn’t a sequel. We have worked really hard on Singh Is Bliing.
Most of your films have had a strong south Indian cultural influence. However Singh Is Bliing is about a Sardar. Was it easy or difficult to understand the new cultural ethos?
As a director you have to do what you have to do. Eventually we are all a part of India.
What were the shooting locations of Singh Is Bling!?
We shot in Punjab, Goa, Romania and South Africa.
And what were the challenges you faced while shooting the film?
There was no challenge while shooting it. The only challenge is for the film to do well at the box-office.
You last film Action Jackson failed at the box-office. How do you deal with such disappointment?
I have been in the industry for a long time, and galtiya sabse hoti hain… (Everyone makes mistakes). Life is all about chances – second, third…
Are there any plans of directing a dance film?
Remo D’Souza is making dance films and I am a part of it. But yes I would be happy to direct a dance film if it comes my way.
While directing a film do you also handle the choreography in it?
No, when I direct I only concentrate on it. When I choreograph I only do that. I like it that way.
What do you enjoy most choreographing or directing?
As a director, what process do you follow while directing actors?
I started my career as a choreographer, which is all about teaching. I have been doing it for 28 years. So, it is not difficult to direct actors. But I can’t explain the process. It comes naturally to me.
Akshay Kumar and you have worked on many films together. Do you have a strong rapport where he can call and ask you to direct a film?
Yes, and I will do it. ‘Coz I know that he will approach me if it is a good and entertaining script.
As a director your films thrive on comedy and action but as an actor your films are high on drama, dance and emotions. What do you enjoy most?
I love to direct. But as an actor you go and do what the director wants you to do. When it works out well everything becomes comfortable.
When will we see you as an actor again?
When a producer calls me.
You are considered an institution when it comes to dance and choreography, however you are not on any of the dance reality shows. Is there any particular reason that you aren’t doing such shows?
I don’t talk much. Also, I can’t and I don’t want to judge. How can you tell someone that he or she is good or bad?
When working with superstars like Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn the collection pressure is on them, whereas with newcomers the pressure is on you. Who do you find it easier to work with?
I have worked with superstars and newcomers in my 28 year-long career. I approach films, be it with superstars or newcomers, in the same manner and intensity. Of course, when the film has a superstar there are a lot of expectations but not so much when it stars newcomers. There is some pressure on me, but it is also good as it keeps me on my toes.
Every filmmaker brings his or her uniqueness to their films. What according to you is your signature style?
My films have to be happy and entertaining. People should feel they went for a picnic and returned with a big smile after watching my films.
What are the key elements your look for in a project before saying yes to it?
The producer and actor have to be good. And I also want to make sure that the film is entertaining. Some films’ lead characters are very rigid – they stick to one emotion. I like my heroes to do everything – dance, comedy, romance, drama. I want all these elements in my film. Of course, if I am making a murder mystery there can’t be songs in it. But then no one calls me for such films.
Would you like to make socially relevant films like Talvar?
Producers should approach me with such a script na! They don’t think I am capable of handling such a serious film. But then one should remember I started as a dance choreographer but people have accepted me as an action film director. See, I am a director, I do whatever I am offered.
Personally you are very shy and keep to yourself but your films are completely opposite of your personality – they are loud and larger than life. Comment.
We like to dream na? So I dream through my films.
Any plans of working with Salman Khan and recreating the magic of Wanted ?
In the film industry you can’t predict. It will happen when it has to happen.
You have extensively worked in Hindi as well as regional cinema. What difference do you notice in the working styles between these two industries?
I think every company / production house has a different working style, so there is no such region-specific difference. Every actor also works differently.
Is it true that you have launched your own production house?
Yes, it is called Prabhu Dheva Studios. We’ve produced a Tamil film directed by Priyadarshan. The film is in a commercial zone, but is something new and will be sent to festivals. I am producing another film with a team that is completely new, from cast to crew. I haven’t yet made any plans of producing Hindi films.