The scathing reviews of his latest film R… Rajkumar, its positive opening collections notwithstanding, have left Prabhu Dheva uncharacteristically violent…and certainly not silent.
Lashing out at the critics for savaging his film, Prabhu says, “What is so terrible about my film that critics have chosen to make personal remarks about me? With due respects, how are they going to decide what kind of films I should make? And if as they say my formula has become tired, why has R… Rajkumar opened so well everywhere, and not just in the single theatres but in multiplexes as well.”
Prabhu says he went theatre-hopping in Mumbai after the film’s release, and he came away happy. “Everyone from members of the audience to the ushers and canteen-wallahs at theatres said they loved the film. I personally saw packed theatres where audiences were clapping cheering and dancing.”
Prabhu wants to know whom the reviews are aimed at. “The people who are going to see my film are obviously not influenced by the critics’ harsh comments. The critics gave and 3.5 and 4 stars to some films recently that opened poorly and never picked up.”
Prabhu sees a glaring lacuna between critics’ opinion and audiences’ response. “If according to critics my style of filmmaking is so tired and tiring, how come the audiences go to see my films? And as long as audiences see my films, why should I change my style? Even my harshest critics say there is a Prabhu Dheva signature style. Why should I give it up when so many other filmmakers are attempting it?”
He wonders why his patent style is a problem for some critics. “So many great filmmakers in the past had a great signature style. Manmohan Desai’s lost-and-found films were loved by everyone. If I am making one style of films why is that a problem?”
Prabhu has no intentions of changing his style. “My next film Action Jackson is very much within my comfort zone. I won’t change my style to please a few critics.”
One major criticism against R… Rajkumar was to do with the leading man. Shahid Kapoor was seen by some as being too puny physically to carry off the larger-than-life heroics. Defends Prabhu, “Nowhere in the film is Shahid portrayed as a macho man. He is constantly referred to as a bachcha who is new to the game of gang wars. He survives and overcomes his opponents more by his mental than physical agility.”
Another criticism is Prabhu’s consistently dependence on Sonakshi Sinha which is pissing of other leading ladies who feel isolated from his filmmaking.
Prabhu retorts, “I went to six other heroines for R.. Rajkumar and five others for Action Jackson. They all refused. Sonakshi fits my scheme of things. She is an all-rounder. Most importantly she is a very desi heroine. And I make films for a desi audience.”
Prabhu says he isn’t likely to make a non-Prabhu Dheva kind of film. “I am known by a particular style. Until the audience rejects my style I am not changing. Why should I make films like European and American directors? Please don’t judge my films by imported yardsticks.”