Director Prashanth Varma of 'AWE' and 'Zombie Reddy' fame awaits the release of 'Hanu-Man'. In this birthday interview, he talks about the progress of the project at length.
The young filmmaker says that 'Hanu-Man' was never supposed to be a behemoth like 'Adipurush'. The story is set in contemporary times and will present Lord Hanuman in the way His devotees perceive him. The characterization of Hanuman was figured out after much contemplation. The director is aware of the sentimentality around Hanuman and doesn't want to offend anybody.
Varma also talks about his plans to launch a Prashanth Varma Cinematic Universe studio on this birthday this month.
There are 1600 VFX shots in 'Hanu-Man'. Each shot is taking a lot of time to render. So far, 1000 VFX shots have been rendered. The rest of them will be done by the end of June. We are planning to announce the release date in the first week of July. The audience's expectations rose after the release of the teaser. The quality of VFX will be better than what you have seen in the teaser.
CG includes lighting, texturing and other aspects. Each of the departments is handled by a different company. It is the VFX supervisor who assigns the different works to different VFX companies.
When 'Hanu-Man' was conceived, it was not supposed to be a big-scale move. The scale was improved gradually. Initially, the plan was to release the movie only in Telugu. Later, demand arose from Mumbai. Further, demand arose from Tamil and Kannada as well.
There are many directors who are better than me at doing commercial movies. I have always wanted to carve a niche by coming out with unconventional cinema. 'AWE' and 'Zombie Reddy' were made as part of the process. Unexpectedly, the latter was loved by children. I have received a number of complaints from parents saying that their kids are mad about the film. I tell them, 'Wait for 'Hanu-Man'. The super-hero genre is the most commercial genre in Hollywood. I wanted to do a super-hero film and it slowly became 'Hanu-Man'.
Every super-hero film has an origin story. Teja Sajja in my film is Hanumanthu, who aspires for exceptional powers. His character has got a certain arc. After acquiring exceptional powers, what would he do? The film ends with that question. I am going to answer the question through a franchise. There will be comics and merchandise from this franchise. There is an ongoing story-boarding process to develop bona fide comics.
The story of 'Hanu-Man' takes place in a fictional town named Anjanadri. Legend has it that Lord Hanuman was born in Anjanadri. That's why I chose that name.
'Zombie Reddy' was released when the 50% occupancy norm in theatres was in place. Its shoot was stuck because of the pandemic. Whatever happens, will happen for good. I am following the same belief in case of 'Hanu-Man'. The teaser went viral. It was unexpected. Some unseen force above is guiding the film's release. I am sure that our film will get a solo release in theatres.
There is no limit to Hanuman's market range. People will rush to watch a movie inspired by his greatness. The value of 'Hanu-Man' has kept on growing in recent months. Like Hanuman Himself, its stature is growing by leaps and bounds.
I narrated the story of 'Hanu-Man' to people in my circle. I narrated it to a respected person. None of them had any complaints about the script.
SS Rajamouli garu suggested that 'Hanu-Man' be released in Indian languages first. After a month, it will be released in foreign languages. It's not viable to do promotions in foreign and Indian languages simultaneously. That's why we are going to space it out. To go global, you have to go local. The subject of your film has to be as unique as possible.
Varalaxmi Sarathkumar and Vinay Rai (as a super-villain) are important to the film. Raj Deepak Shetty, the Kannada actor, has a key role. A big actor whose name we haven't disclosed has played a role. His first look will be revealed soon.
My film with Balakrishna garu will be in a different space while staying true to his sort of cinematic grammar. I recently pitched an idea and he liked the same. Before that film, I will be making a super-hero movie titled 'Adheera'. Some of the characters seen in 'Hanu-Man' will be present in that film. The story will revolve around Indra.
When I used to pitch stories before making 'AWE', producers would say that they are too advanced. They would ask me to make those stories ten years later. Today, such stories are working in the current environment. At Scriptsville, the script-writing company, there are 12 writers.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev once said that, at the age of 33, a turning point happens. If you take a life-changing decision at that age, it can be life-altering. My decision is to create a Prashanth Varma Cinematic Universe (PVCU), a film studio. Apart from 'Hanu-Man' and 'Adheera', I have got six other super-hero movies in the works. I am inviting new writers and aspiring directors to handle them. I won't be wielding the megaphone for all movies. VFX artists, story-board artists and others will be recruited. They will be given a salary. The work culture will be akin to that in a Hollywood movie. Even experienced writers/directors will be roped in.
We are creating original super-heroes. Their powers don't overlap with Hollywood super-heroes. As such, there are going to be no Intellectual Property challenges. We are confident that our super-hero movies will scare even the 'Spiderman' franchise in the US!
PVCU will enter into collaborations with film studios from Mumbai. I have been getting offers from Bollywood. The success of 'Baahubali' and 'RRR' has laid a path. I am going to go on that path on a bicycle.
People say I can become a hero, but the fact is that I am incapable of acting. (Laughs). I don't act out the scenes on set. I let my actors do it. I prefer that route.