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Interview : Sudeep

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Sudeep, PHOONK 2, Ram Gopal Verma, Milind Gadagkar, Ahsaas Channa, Shrey Bawa, Ashwini Kalsekar


Sudeep a popular name down South, who made an unconventional entry into Hindi film circuit with Ram Gopal Varma’s PHOONK followed by RANN, will soon be seen in Writer Milind Gadagkar’s directorial debut film PHOONK 2, a sequel to 2008’s blockbuster hit film PHOONK, and his third film with RGV banner. The south superstar in a very short span of time has become RGV’s new blue-eyed boy and going great guns in Bollywood. In conversation with the unassuming star Sudeep.

In what way PHOONK 2 is different from its prequel?
PHOONK 2 starts where PHOONK ended. It’s an extension of the first part, definitely on scarier part. You will not see a different film altogether, you will see PHOONK only happening. But now the storyline varies, the narration varies and the moments are different. PHOONK revolved around the concept of black magic, believer & non-believer thing but in the sequel you see the spirit of the evil woman coming back from the dead and making the life miserable out of the happy-go-lucky family. PHOONK 2 is out-an-out scarier film as it deals with ghost and spirits. And the moments which director Milan has been able to capture and create is mind-blowing.

But haven’t we seen enough of films on ghosts and spirits made in the past? What’s new about PHOONK 2?
Tell me how different you see all love stories? The loving couple, either get married or don’t by the end of the film. Can you say that every lovestory is different? Its simple, a girl loves a guy or a guy loves a girl, now how different can it be here? Ultimately it’s all in your presentation right? Similarly there may be lot of horror films made but I guess every filmmaker has got its own

‘I believe in fetching work beacuse of my credibility’

conviction; every director has its own way of presenting. If you observe till date in Hollywood, the top-notch directors are attempting couple of horror films for the mere fact that they feel they want to present it in a different format. We do not have new stories here, Infact nobody has got. The world is all about presentation.

The appealing factor of PHOONK was the concept of Black magic, which was never attempted in Indian Cinema before, so how is the sequel planning to grab the eyeballs?
There have been a lot of people who have loved PHOONK for various reasons. Infact quite a few people came to me telling Sudeep we actually wanted to get scared but PHOONK didn’t give us the kind of jitters expected. It wasn’t scary enough. There were hardly one or two chilling moments in the entire film. But I’ll tell you something, PHOONK was more of a father-daughter relation, family relationship that was keeping the film alive. It was not because it was scary. It argued upon believer and a non-believer thing that’s what the film was all about and by the end of the film who believed it, who didn’t is what the question was.

It is always believed that we make a sequel only after the success of its first part. The only fact that it has a very different presentation to what PHOONK was. Now we are trying to tell a story here what happens to the family next.

You watch every sequel of HARRY POTTER, some form of extension is there to it, additional characters, etc. You start following whatever Harry Potter does; you just want see what the extension of Harry Potter has in store, it is irrelevant to you how different I am telling the next story. After a certain time you start making films for those fans of that particular project only. So PHOONK 2 is for all those people who want to know what happened to the family next, how they survived, whether they fought back, etc. And mind you there are no heroes in the film, there are only protagonists who are playing characters, there is nobody larger than life who can just stand up and fight spirits/ghosts. There is this sweet, loving wife, doting father, the innocent kids, who don’t have the sensibilities to figure out what’s happening around, etc.

CHECK OUT: PHOONK 3 underway even before PHOONK 2 release!

PHOONK happens to be the first Indian horror film to have a sequel, what do you have to say about it?
Ya! It’s always a nice feeling when your own film is being made into a sequel indicating that your first film did well. You never know there may be already PHOONK 3 happening. It’s just that how people want to accept it.

Being part of this film is a more exacting moment for me because you feel wanted here. Also PHOONK 2 is very close to me because my good friend Milind, who has been with me from quite a long now, has directed this film. I am very glad that RGV chose him and is convinced this guy can handle the chair.

Are you the one in getting Milind Gadagkar on board?
I don’t know but I was a part of the film which made him a director. I desperately wanted him to become a director. Hats off to RGV because he’s a rare person who has this vision for new actors, new technicians, we have a very good brand RGV with us to sell films.

But now PHOONK itself has become a brand…
A brand, which RGV created & left it in the market and gave the incharge to couple of other people. When the first part came, people wanted to watch the film as there was a name attached to it – RGV presents or RGV’s PHOONK. Now it’s other way round, now because of PHOONK people will come.

view PHOONK 2 videos

view PHOONK 2 videos

PHOONK was a message driven film, which debated on the very topic of believer & non-believer, faith. What message does the sequel carries?
No messages over here. In first part there was this character of Aarti, who was more of a believer in God but ultimately its science which wins her over and now her beliefs are changed completely. And the character becomes like that because of the situations in the end of the film. In the sequel Aarti is kind of non-believer because of what happened in PHOONK, not because it was written in the script…

PHOONK gave you good platform and enough exposure in Bollywood. What do you think where will the sequel lead you?

‘I owe a lot to
Ram Gopal Varma…’

I have no idea. Trust me my experiences say its better we just do a film & don’t mull over it much. I don’t think we can sit here gauging ourselves everytime. Everybody has its own expectations but I think after certain no. of years in film industry its better you do not expect anything. You just make a film because it is exciting at that particular moment and rest leave it to the audience, if it is doing superb it will fetch you lot of things which were least expected, than expect a lot of things & something doesn’t work the way we wanted and get disappointed. I believe in the funda – Proceed!

Are you looking forward to working outside RGV banner or happy continuing with it?
I am happy doing good job. RGV is the main reason for me to be here today. So I think I owe a lot to this person first. And after that probably, if there is enough number of people who would want to cast me and who would want to say that this guy fits the role or fits the bill perfectly I’ll consider it. I think for any actor it is very important to feel wanted first of all. Once you feel that way you start delivering your best. It should not happen that you are the availability because of somebody else’s non-availability. It should be your credibility which should fetch you work.

Though director Milind happens to be your close pal still you had reservations about RGV directing the sequel as the first part was directed by him?
No I wouldn’t say that.

CHECK OUT: Ram Gopal Varma-PHOONK-2 is the scariest film ever!

Since RGV knows the in and out of this film do you think RGV shouldn’t have given the baton of direction to an outsider? Didn’t you find it risky enough to include a new person on board
I think RGV knows best what is good for a film. If he wouldn’t believe that Milind had the capability (as I said earlier it’s about capability not somebody else’s unavailability) or RGV would have thought that the guy is not capable enough, trust me he would have never got the approval. I don’t think RGV will put his money, give his name to the film that he presents and hand it over somebody else if so & so person is not fitting the bill. I don’t think he will make a film completely because of the emotional relationship. He is very film focused. And whatever promos I have seen by now I think it’s looking fantastic. RGV himself has felt many times that Milind has done much better job.

PHOONK, RANN, PHOONK 2, RAKTA CHARITRA (in the near future). The list has been pretty interesting. How excited do you feel with the way your career is progressing in Bollywood?
I don’t think an actor can ever get satisfied. We don’t know when the excitement actually comes. But something is giving us kick chalo character kuch badiya hain kuch aisa karte hain waisa karte hain lekin yeh pata nahi hota ki sahi hai ya galat hai….blah blah. I think every actor, filmmaker is a child who doesn’t want to grow up, I think excitement comes from the angles which are least expected. Atleast I got a base here, some platform to start. Atleast I got an opportunity.

As you say it’s the kind of character in the film which gives you the zeal to do your best and PHOONK 2 was just an extension of the story so what extra thing you could bring in to the character here
This is the first time I am doing a horror genre and there were not much of scary situations in PHOONK. I have done typical commercial films all my life down south. In South Indian films, there is lot image and hero worship. With me you cannot make a horror film in south. Mai toh udhar villains ko darata hun. Wahan darata hun yahan darraha hun…(laughs)

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