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‘An experience I will always cherish’

By Dhrithi Sudhakar Gulvadi


SOUTH Indian star Prabhas dedicated four years of his life to epic films BaahubaliThe Beginning and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. His faith in the two ambitious epics paid off because they smashed records at the box office and became two of the highest grossing Indian movies of all time. They also expanded the horizons of Indian cinema and turned the talented actor into a global superstar.  

Aside from setting new benchmarks for Indian cinema, his perfect portrayal of the two characters in the action franchise has made him a man who is very much in demand. Instead of going on a massive signing spree the methodical actor is choosing projects he believes in and understands the expectations now surrounding him are sky-high. His hotly anticipated next project is action entertainer Saaho, which releases next year and will boast some of the most ambitious stunts ever filmed in Indian cinema. The movie, which also stars Shraddha Kapoor, will be released in various languages including Hindi and Telugu. Eastern Eye caught up with man of the moment, Prabhas, to talk about his remarkable rise, latest film and more. 

Your next film Saaho is one of the most anticipated of 2018. What can you tell us about it?  

It is an entertainer that is a commercial action movie. It also has a love story in it. You can say it’s an action-romance movie. All the audiences should be able to accept it and we’re releasing the movie in multiple languages. 

Tell us about your character in the movie. 

(Smiles) I think it is too early to reveal anything about my role at this stage. But what I can say is that the character is energetic and entertaining, but at present we can’t reveal much about my role in Saaho. 

What kind of preparation are you undergoing for the role in Saaho? 

I went through the script and talked with the director to see how the character was written. We’re keeping the character engaging and the audience would find it interesting too I believe. They might find it more interesting since the Baahubali movies were so big. They were once in a lifetime movies and I hope Saaho is as successful. I am collaborating very closely with the director on the character and we are working hard towards making it great. 

The two Baahubali movies were of course huge global successes and you dedicated nearly five years of your life to them. How was that whole experience and do you feel added pressure for Saaho? 

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process of Baahubali and the four to five years of time I put in. I enjoyed the whole shooting process of the movie and even liked the time I was given to prepare for the roles before shooting started. It was a great experience I will always cherish. So compared to that I don’t think Saaho will be a pressure at all. But yes I do understand that after Baahubali, the expectations of the audience have risen and we need to match them. That is the only thing I’m worried about. The whole team is working on it and I’m very happy doing Saaho after Baahubali. It’s great to get to grips with a new character with Saaho. I really liked doing the Baahubali films, but I’m happy doing something else and enjoying the new challenge. 

Are you an actor who can be moulded completely by a filmmaker or do you give in your inputs to a character in a particular movie?  

I am mostly a director’s actor, but sometimes yes I’m close to them and we do have discussions. I tell them what I feel about a character and we openly discuss it, which is healthy. If they like what I am saying then I definitely put my inputs in too. 

You have done incredibly well at the box office with your latest two films. Are you keeping an eye on what other actors are doing?  

No, actually I was so lucky to be a part of Baahubali, that my only worry now is how to do Saaho to the best of my ability and make it a success. The whole team behind Saaho has been working hard for the past three years on the script. So other outside things don’t matter to me. (Smiles) I have received too much and more than expected after Baahubali and am grateful. 

The two Baahubali films were dubbed into Hindi, but are proudly south Indian films. Is your plan to make a move into commercial Hindi cinema now?  

Saaho is very much like a Bollywood movie. There will be a Hindi version of the film. Hindi movie technicians like Sabu sir have done a great job. The Hindi writers who had done Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani have taken care of the Hindi version of the movie, so Bollywood fans won’t be disappointed. Saaho is like a national movie for all the audiences. Currently I have signed no Bollywood movies, but I am receiving good offers. (Smiles) Maybe in a few months I’ll let you know if I have signed any. 

How have you evolved as person with your growing stardom?  

I had no strength after Baahubali. I was far away from this place during that movie and perhaps I needed that gap. I don’t know how I have evolved as an actor. I think I should concentrate on being as natural as I can to deliver my character, so that all audiences would watch Saaho. I’m working on it and until the movie releases, I won’t be able to say how much I’ve evolved. 

What does Prabhas do when he is not acting? 

Most of the times I’m with my friends. I still have all my childhood friends. My ex-producer is also a childhood friend. I have a close circle of friends because we grew up together. I play volleyball, watch movies and sometimes I read books. I spend time with my family whenever possible. My family lives together. My mother and sister are very close to me. My brother also lives close to my house. I love talking to friends and family and regularly discuss films with them. 

Biopics are very popular in Indian cinema. Which real life character would you love to play?  

Honestly, I have never thought about it. Maybe if something interesting comes along then I can say. I have never done a biopic so don’t know how the whole process of preparing for it works or how much better I can do it or how good I would be at it. It depends on which character it is, who the director is and what script I get offered. If I like what is offered, I will do it for sure.