Edited excerpts from an interview between Prabhas and Baradwaj Rangan:
We live in a period where the Mission Impossible films and the James Bond films get dubbed into Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and all the main regional languages. So the local audience, apart from the elite Hollywood audience, have also been exposed to these major action films. In a way, is Saaho, which is being described as the ‘Biggest Action Thriller In India’, also competing against the Hollywood thrillers.
I think there are certain portions in Saaho that can compete with Hollywood standards. But our budgets are very different from theirs. I feel certain sequences can certainly compete. For instance the waterfall sequence in Bahubali…that was as good as any Hollywood film. In the same way we have one sequence that’s like that. But I feel the audience has to say it. Not me.
What was the template you used here. For instance, Mission Impossible uses a James Bond model that’s a spin on the spy films of the 60’s. So if you were to define Saaho, how would you do it?
We cant compare it with MI, Dhoom or any other series. When you see the film you’ll understand why I am saying this. It is a screenplay based film. Right from the word go, the film is constantly on the run and it goes into different blocks.
You gave four years to Bahubali and two years to Saaho and obviously it’s necessary because the scale involved is huge. Is that how the future is going to be…these long gaps and films that finally make it worth it?
Finally, the movie should work. I didn’t think after Bahubali, I would give Saaho two years. But some actions sequences took a really long time to conceive and shoot. It took time but I don’t want to spend so much time on all my movies. When you try something new, without a reference, after getting 50 people from Hollywood, it requires a lot of planning. We used the best technicians in the world. For example, when we were shooting in Abu Dhabi, we had people who had worked on Game on Thrones, people who had worked on Transformers…the technicians had lots of work to do. We had over 500 storyboards. We had to buy lots of cars which then needed to be crashed. I thought I should give a lot of my time for this…even if I didn’t want to.
In typical Tamil and Telugu movies, it’s either the same ‘dishoom dishoom’ type of action or one of the characters bring a weapon. I feel there’s no variety. In James Bond movies, you see how they’re trying something new, when they fight on a train….what’s the reason for this. Is it a lack of imagination or just budgets?
I think it’s the lack of budget also. If you see Shankar sir’s Enthiran and 2.0, he showed us something no one has every shown us before. The budgets are also very important to conceive a scene. But even with small budgets, you can come up with something great if the concept is good.
So you had 350 crores for this film. How much of that has gone into the action?
Maybe 150 to 200 crores for the just the action. We also had lots of sets. We created a city, like Gotham City, according to what we needed for the bigger scale. So the action must be around 200 crores.