After multiple delays, ‘Radhe Shyam’ is finally releasing in theatres…
Prabhas: Despite being in the industry for two decades, this is one feeling that always feels new and stresses me out. One day before the film, I am always stressed.
Radha Krishna Kumar: Many films during the pandemic did take the OTT route. But a film like ‘Radhe Shyam’ is meant for the theatres. This needs to be experienced inside a theatre. Because I feel, we will be cheating on the audience if we release this on OTT. We were just waiting for the right time to come.
How do you look at the evolution of romance in Indian cinema?
Radha Krishna Kumar: There’s good cinema and bad cinema. It’s not over the top. If we like something and we feel like
Pooja: I don’t really know about evolution. I kind of love the romantic, poetic way of showing a love story like that. I love the romantic genre, and even though scripts have evolved over time, I believe all the filmmakers want to keep that emotion the same.
Radha, how did you approach Prabhas and Pooja for ‘Radhe Shyam’?
Down south, in Hyderabad, or anywhere, the name Prabhas itself sounds like something else. And when you get an opportunity to work with him, it’s very surreal. And it takes time for you to believe it. First of all, it’s a tough task, because people, being his fans or whatever, a shot of his foot creates a massive response in the theatre. To simplify that, and to show that would definitely be a tough task. And that was an exciting experience. And in the end, he chose to be like that, like the simplest version of an image he has. So that was really exciting.
After ‘Baahubali’, I came to know through my producers that Prabhas wants to do a love story. And around that time, I was writing a love story. And I got the opportunity to narrate to him and he liked it and it took off. And coming back to Pooja, we had a lot of discussions because this is not just a heroine role. Like we tried to narrate a philosophy through a character. And a lot of discussions have happened and everything. And finally, we both decided that okay, she actually looks like a princess to me. (Laughs) And that Cinderella kind of image into the movie and everything, whatever she played on screen, I think it’d be better if I talk more about it after the release.
Pooja and Prabhas, what made you two accept this project?
Prabhas: I’ve never shown my hand to anyone, and the story felt so good. It felt like something unique and different in love. I never believed in palmistry, but I did want to listen to his story, and with every second I was like, wow, this is really good. I think I should do this. And I told him that and it’s very interesting the way the story goes, the twists and the climax and the light feel… it’s very good. And the ship episode, the visuals, the designing by the director, the sound designing, everything.
Pooja: When Radha Sir narrated the film to me, I was just amazed at the kind of creative thinking and beauty he had put into it. I think he had thought so well of every single shot. I think I got so excited with my character per se because it had so much scope for me to have fun with, to do something new, to show people something that excites you as an actor… like some new aspect of your life and I love coming to set excited and playing different roles. And to get this opportunity in a commercial film is something that I was looking forward to personally. I love rom coms like I said, but this was more a serious, more mature love story. So the way I prepared, I mean, we discussed my character a lot. We sat down, we spoke about her, I understood that he seemed pretty nice. And I told him what I see. Now as in some way we came together and made the prayer. I had to read a lot of books to kind of draw inspiration from other people’s life to pray, which you all will understand soon.
Pooja, you had earlier shared, there are some films you do as a fan, and some as an actor…
Yeah, it’s true. I do some films as a fan, and having said that, I spoke about this when Rohit Shetty sir offered me ‘Cirkus’. Because my dad loves his films, you’re making films for different audiences. Also, maybe I may like to watch ‘Raazi’ or I would love to play something like that. But there are different audiences. So my dad loves Rohit Sir’s films, and I do it because my dad’s going to be so excited to see me in that world. So when I go there, I play it like this is the world now. So I’m having fun with my characters, whether it was ‘Most Eligible Bachelor’ or I’m playing a stand-up comedian. Like I said, I still feel very, like a baby in this industry, I’m still learning, I still have so many more roles that I want to play. And that keeps me excited. That keeps me like, ‘Okay, let’s get up in the morning and go to set’. I picked up ‘Radhe Shyam’, one, as the story the script was amazing, but also that little keeda in me as an actor is like, ‘Okay, amazing, I get to portray this.’ And of course, Prabhas was in the film! So it was like it was ticking like all the boxes, and it’s a gut thing I guess also my gut is involved in selecting films.
There is an ongoing discussion about the difference between actors in the north and actors in the south. What is your opinion on the same?
Prabhas: I feel, every actor is the same. It’s just the exposure to different languages, different countries. Even if you go to Africa, I think it’s the same.
There’s a big change that now actors are not known as ‘south’ actors but as Indian actors. How do you see this change?
Prabhas: This is beautiful. We are Indians. It’s nothing like that. We just have different languages for consumption. Today, we all want to watch good films. I think it was always the same. We realised after ‘Baahubali’ happened.
Is there a pressure to match the success of a film like ‘Baahubali’?
Radha: Obviously yes, there’s pressure. The first thing, we’ll be very happy to have an actor and a star like him on board for a film because like I said, he will not have any limitations for your imagination and everything. And the second thing, it’s more of a responsibility, like the kind of fanbase he has, the kind of responsibility he has towards delivering good cinema to his audience. So we will be working hard towards making a good cinema and coming to comparisons and everything. We have to agree that ‘Baahubali’ is something else, that we have to be inspired out of it rather than competing with it, and it will be stupid to compete with a film like that.
What will the audience take away from ‘Radhe Shyam’?
Radha: They will take home something from the film. And it’s not the same thing for everybody. Like you look at the film from your life experiences and you take back what you want to take back and it leaves you with a beautiful taste of a beautiful dream.
Pooja: Everyone’s going to take back different things, but I think it’s also going to be… I hope we take them on a journey in the course of the film, we give them something new and fresh to watch and I hope we question some things in their mind.