'Singham 2 will surpass all expectations'
Suriya-starrer Singham directed by Hari Gopalakrishnan was a huge blockbuster that was simultaneously dubbed in Telugu (Yamudu) and later remade in Hindi (Singham), Kannada (Kempe Gowda) and even Bengali (Shotru).
All the versions were hugely successful and now amidst much anticipation, director Hari Gopalakrishnan is back with its sequel, Singham 2.
Director Hari is known for his commercial entertainers, Saamy, Ayya, Thaamirabharani Thamizh, Vel and of course Singham.
The Hari-Suriya combination seems to have an unbeatable track record. They have already delivered a hat trick with Aaru, Vel and Singham. And now three years later, the duo’s much-awaited sequel, Singham 2 is making waves even before its release.
Hari Gopalakrishnan talks about this and much more.
There seems to be a lot of promotion for Singam 2. How important is marketing to a film’s success?
Today, everything from a textile showroom to a vessel merchant requires publicity. People are naturally aware of their presence, but it is only constant advertising and promotion that attracts them to it.
Cinema is the same; you need to bring the audience to the theatre in the first few weeks. And creating awareness and an interest in the film through good marketing definitely makes them curious enough to plan a trip to the theatre with their family.
Image: Suriya in Singham 2
'The response we got for Singham was astounding'
What inspired you to make the sequel?
My film Saamy with Vikram ended with a small hint that the adventures of Saamy will continue. Singham too ended similarly with actor Vijayakumar offering Suriya a new mission.
So the idea of a sequel has always appealed to me, but I never pursued it seriously. It was only when those who loved Singham, especially Suriya fans, kept insisting that we make a sequel that the idea began to take shape.
Expectations are high when you make a sequel. Does that worry you?
The response we got for Singham was astounding. The story and even the characters became a huge hit.
To recreate the same magic, we had to have something bigger, better and more intense. It was definitely a big risk, but we decided to go for it and I am 100 per cent sure that we have managed to pull it off.
Singham 2 has come out beautifully and will surpass all expectations.
Image: Suriya and Anushka Shetty in Singham 2. Inset: Director Hari Gopalakrishnan
'Suriya is a perfectionist'
Today, along with Singham 2, the remake of your film Saamy as Policegiri, is also releasing...
This week is undoubtedly a double bonanza for me. In fact, just yesterday I had the opportunity to watch the film (Policegiri) and I am really happy with the result.
K S Ravikumar has done a marvellous job. That my stories are appreciated and hugely successful in Hindi is an absolutely great feeling.
Singham 2 brings you and Suriya together for the fourth time. Every time you have worked together, you have produced a hit. What is your secret?
I really have to thank God for this wonderful rapport and camaraderie that we share. And the affection and admiration that we have for each other has only grown with each film.
We are on the same wavelength and Suriya is totally adapted to my style of working. I work fast and Suriya, who is a perfectionist, keeps up with the pace without compromising on his acting skills. We perfectly understand each other and this reflects in our films.
Tell us about your female leads, Anushka and Hansika.
Hansika has a totally different and important role in the film and her character will definitely be appreciated. As a matter of fact, I was surprised. She has actually performed far beyond my expectations.
And Anushka we all know is a great actor. She had given a wonderful performance in the prequel, and now she has taken her character in Singham 2 a step further with her excellent acting skills.
Image: Suriya in Singham 2
'I have to adapt the screenplay to suit the expectations of my audience'
You already had Vivek for the comedy track. What role does Santhanam play?
In Singham 2, we have promoted Vivek from being the head constable to a sub-inspector and he is a lot more fun.
Santhanam too has his own comedy track and is a complete laugh riot. We even have a duet between Anushka and Santhanam in the film.
Why did you choose to have a British actor playing the role of the lead antagonist?
We were actually looking for a Hollywood actor to play the part, but were very impressed with Danny Sapani, who is British. He too liked the script and so things worked out perfectly.
Danny Sapani is a great actor, very dedicated and disciplined. In fact, he has dubbed in his own voice for the film. I actually travelled to London for the dubbing, but returned the same day as Danny completed the entire schedule in just six hours.
Action-masala movies are considered to be your forte. Do you make such films because people expect you to?
Whatever my story, I do have to adapt the screenplay to suit the expectations of my audience.
Besides, the image of the actor also has to be taken into consideration. There are a whole bunch of fans out there who come to whistle, clap and enjoy every second of their favourite actor on screen and we cannot disappoint them.
Image: Suriya and Anushka Shetty in Singham 2
'Commercial cinema is my strong point and I enjoy doing it'
Do you feel that critically acclaimed or award-winning films cannot be commercially successful?
Films like Paruthiveeran and Mynaa have been both critically acclaimed and commercially successful. So, whatever the film, if it is interesting the audience will watch.
Do you regret making only commercial films and not receiving the recognition you deserve?
If the movie is successful and the producer makes money, then I am happy. That by itself is like receiving an award.
It is not that I don’t want to make any award-winning or critically acclaimed film; it is just that I don’t know how. I would rather watch from the sidelines and appreciate the directors who make such films and do it well.
I prefer to work with something I know and understand, focusing on my strengths. Commercial cinema is my strong point, and though I don’t claim to know everything about it, it is certainly something I enjoy doing and have absolutely no regrets about.
How do success, failure and criticism affect you?
Every film is a unique experience, and just like the birth of a child, each time you are just as anxious and just as excited.
The same hard work goes into the making of all my films, but some are successful and some are not. When a film is a success, you feel happy, but that cannot make you complacent, as that is a recipe for disaster.
Similarly, when a film does not work, you learn from your mistakes and move on. And, finally, when your time is over, you need to accept it and make way for others to take your place and I am totally prepared for that.
Image: Suriya in Singham 2