Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi a.k.a Krish isn’t new to the world of making films. After proving his mettle down South with films like Gamyam, Vedam, Vaanam and Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum, he is now beginning his Bollywood sojourn with Gabbar Is Back. The Akshay Kumar starrer has been in news ever since it was launched. Now with the film’s innovative campaign ensuring that the there is sustained buzz around it and the hype is shooting too with every passing day, Krish has a lot to look forward to. With an iconic name for the film’s title, expectations are anyways manifold. We catch up with the 36 year old filmmaker.
How did you think of picking Gabbar Is Back as your debut Bollywood film?
I came to Bombay after doing four films in South. At that time, Shabinaji (Khan) told me that they were looking at a director for Gabbar Is Back. I had seen Tamil film Ramanaa and realized that it was great. We knew though that we had to rewrite it for Hindi version. Shabinaji said that if I was okay picking up the film then we will go ahead with rewriting. Then we went ahead and packed it as a thriller to up the entertainment quotient. Thereafter, we met Ashay (Kumar) sir and gave him the narration. He too gave his own inputs which was a blessing for me. I couldn’t have expected more from my first Hindi film.
Guess a lot has gone into the film’s promo to make it exciting enough for the audience, right?
The script is so exciting by A.R Murugadoss sir that the promo had a lot in there to be shown. The original film has worked in all languages down South. It has huge drama and entertainment with some superb action sequences. We have taken this huge brand Gabbar which was a challenge in itself. We made sure that the location and setting are as exciting as they can be. All of it has really worked. We got some great technicians on board, like DOP [Nirav Shah] who has done films like Dhoom, Dhoom 2 and Wanted. He has given Gabbar Is Back a rich grandeur.
The film is also special due to Akshay Kumar turning Gabbar. Were you clear in your mind from Day One that the film would have to feature him?
Akshay sir was already there in the film as far as my knowledge is. In the very first meeting, he liked me too. I narrated to him whatever I had prepared for the film and how we were going to approach it. He was the one who supported me right throughout. I have seen the film 100 times in the post production and I can say with confidence that in each and every shot he has given, the character of Gabbar is standing out.
How did you decide to balance between his superstar status and the character that he had to play for the film?
This is a dhamaka film actually and hence only a superstar could have done it. I can’t put Gabbar in the title and then have any actor being there just for the namesake. Akshay sir has that persona which complements the film and its theme. The way he has approached Gabbar Is Back is fantastic. Sometimes an actor may seem different in different scenes but here he is so synchronized. There are too many emotions in Gabbar Is Back and he is an inspirational character in the film. Only an actor like him can pull it off; I cannot expect Gabbar Is Back to be done with anyone else.
As for the leading lady, there were talks of Shraddha Kapoor being approached earlier. Then Shruti Haasan came in.
Shraddha’s dates didn’t work out. Shruti is a good friend of mine and Shabinaaji. When we told Akshay sir that she could be the right fit, he too was fine with it. It was a collective decision and once informed about the decision, she too got pretty excited. She is a very good performer and is looking awesome in the film. Shruti is playing a young girl who brings in a lot of peppiness on screen. She is being talkative and very mischievous. She brings in a perfect balance for the film with her lighthearted scenes.
Kareena Kapoor Khan too features in the film. Typically, heroines do get sidelined in films belonging to this genre. How has that been dealt with in Gabbar Is Back?
Kareena’s part is pivotal to spin it in a different direction. Because of her, things change in the film. She stepped in thanks to her friendship with Akshay and Shabina. She is playing Akshay’s wife and their song ‘Teri Meri Kahaani’ is Number One on so many channels. She gives much needed substance for the pivotal role. She and Akshay share a great chemistry on screen. It was very exciting for me to direct them both.