'Only Kamal Haasan interferes with work'
In the first part, art director Sabu Cyril spoke about his journey into the movies, his relationship with ace director Priyadarshan, and his forthcoming film, Agneepath.
He gave us a glimpse into his brilliant sketches as well, where he drew elaborate film sets.
In this second part of the interview, Sabu tells Patcy N how behind we are from Hollywood, as far as technology is concerned. He also tells us about his upcoming films Tezz, Ra.One and Krrish 3. Here's also a glimpse of what the sets look like from his grand designs on paper.
Image: The Om Shanti Om sets
'There are many superheroes but that does not mean they are all the same'
You worked on Robot, and now you are working on Ra.One. What is the difference?
Batman and Superman are both superheroes. There are many more superheroes but that does not mean they are all the same.
Shah Rukh Khan comes out of a video game; he is virtual reality whereas the other one is a robot. So the subject itself is different.
Ra.One is shot mainly in India and 25 per cent in London.
People say that the train sequences in both are similar. But there are car chases in hundreds of movies; that doesn't mean they're all the same. If we had a boat chase, they would have said it is copied from Puppet On A Chain (1971).
Image: The Endhiran sets
'I did not interact with Rajnikanth for Endhiran'
Do you interact with actors when you do films like Ra.One and Robot?
I interacted with Shah Rukh for Ra.One because he is the producer, and it is his dream. He wants the film in a particular way so he would interact directly for most of the sequences.
Director Anubhav Sinha also explained things to me. Shah Rukh's participation is more in this film, as compared to Asoka, Billu, Om Shanti Om or Main Hoon Na.
In the South, it is completely different. I did not interact with Rajnikanth for Endhiran. It was always with director Shankar. Only Kamal Haasan interferes with work.
Image: The Aladdin sets
'Tezz is based on bullet trains'
How is work on Krrish 3 going?
Preparation is on -- it is at the designing stage. It is a different genre. The hero is like Batman or Superman -- he behaves like a superhero, not like a robot.
You are working on Priyadarshan's action film Tezz as well. Priyadarshan once said he works only with you. Why is that?
Out of his 93 films, I have done 65. My first film with Priyan was Muskurahat. I had done a small film called Current in Hindi with Deepti Naval and Om Puri before that but Muskurahat was my first Hindi commercial film.
We have been working together ever since -- it may be our comfort level. We share an understanding from the beginning that the minute he is not happy with my work, he will not call me, and the minute he doesn't utilise my work well, I will not work with him. His film Aakrosh did not do well but it is a really good one.
Tezz is an action film, shot mostly in Birmingham and London. It is based on bullet trains. I created trains in the Mehboob Studios for a few action sequences. Tezz will be a thriller.
Image: A scene from Billu
'If there is no challenge, I don't take it up'
How do you select your movies now that everyone wants to work with you?
I see if the film is challenging. If there is no challenge, I don't take it up.
I have never planned anything in my life; I did not know what I wanted to be. I am a huge fan of Abraham Lincoln, who had once said: 'I will study and prepare myself, some day my big chance will come.'
I did the same and prepared myself and when the chance came, I took it.
Image: The Endhiran sets
'Krrish 3 and Ra.One are expensive films'
How far behind are we from Hollywood as far as technology is concerned?
Very far. They are growing very fast, we are still trying to catch up.
They have huge budgets. That's the only reason why we are far behind. We have people who can do the work. Even for Avatar, it is our people who have done the work. Here, a Malayalam film can't think of having the same budget as a Hindi film. Likewise, we can't even think of Hollywood budgets for Bollywood films.
If Robot was done according to their standards, it would have cost another Rs 40 crore. With Rs 210- 215 crore, we would have done a fantastic film. But we can't sell a film with that budget. Rs 150 crore for Robot was a huge budget for that time.
In Transformers, one action sequence would take a month to shoot. We can't shoot that way. We need a huge budget for such things and we will never recover such kind of money. Krrish 3 and Ra.One are expensive films. Let's see how they do.
Image: The Aladin sets