Filmmaker R.S Prasanna who is making his Bollywood debut with the film Shubh Mangal Saavdhan feels that with so many brainless Bollywood films flooding the market, Bollywood is hungry for content. Considering the fact that the film is the remake of its Tamil version ‘Kalyana Samayal Saadham’, which was also directed by him, feel that movies should been entertaining but should also send out an important message. “For me making a film for 3-4 years is tough if I don’t have something meaningful to say at the end of it” Prassana said. Excerpts from the interview
This film is a remake of your Tamil film, was it the importance of the topic which is why you wanted to share it the Hindi speaking audience as well?
Yes, I loved the response I got from the south audience. It was a very small film but it got a phenomenal response. So, it was in my mind that Bollywood has mainstreamed sensitive topics so I was very eager to take it to a much wider audience. Also, Mr. Rai was very excited by the possibility of taking such a risky subject to the people.
How important is humor to such a sensitive topic?
I always feel that humor is the most important tool of communication ever. Today, stand up comedies are a rage in India, it is because of humor you understand the most important stuff as well. It makes it light and audience loves it. If you give them a lecture on erectile dysfunction then they will not care, but if you make a movie that is funny on the same topic then message is delivered.
Why were Bhumi and Ayushmann the perfect couple for this topic?
They were very apt for the role. Moreover, they are fantastic actors and there is a lot of acting scope in the movie. Above all they are such a loved couple which a certain sense of cinematic sensibility. With films like Vicky Donor and Toilet they have connected with the middle class and that is the exact zone this film is.
How was their reaction when you narrated the script to them?
They both were in love with the film. With Ayushmman I had talked to him before with this topic in mind before the script was ready just to see how he would react. And he just fell down laughing when he heard the concept. So, once the script was ready and we narrated the story to him, he agreed to do it on the spot. Even Bhoomi was laughing, there was no answer required. He laughter was answer enough.
Both of them are still starting out, did you feel maybe if you had established stars they would be a wider connect?
If they would hesitate to work with a new director, I would not have had a chance to direct them. Also, stars become stars because of the movies that they make. I think they both are middle-class superstars. If tomorrow I have script for Tom cruise I will pitch it to him, maximum he will reject it. At least I will be able to meet him.
Any Bollywood superstar you want to work with?
I think Aamir Khan. I am a huge Kamal Hassan fan and in south we call Aamir Bollywood Ka Kamal Hassan. There is a special corner in the heart for Aamir, as he has a certain clarity for filmmaking. He has a people connect and will do risky films
How do you think women will perceive this topic?
I think women will love this topic, equally if not more than men. Moreover, this a topic that affects men and women and that is what the movie covers.
In a country with such a large population, why do you think sex is still a taboo? Especially women shy away from talking about this…
We hope after our film they will start opening up. As this is what our movie says. Talk about it and open up. This is not a sin. Our Indian culture was very liberal; it was the Victorian culture that made us conservative. We all are adults and we should be able to talk to each other.
This is an adult topic, so do you think that families might be apprehensive about going together for this movie?
Of course, you can take small kids to this movie. But teenager can go for this movie as they should have some level of sex education. We hope that the conservative mindset will change. That is why we have kept that Alibaba scene in the trailer as well. Here is a mother that doesn’t know who to give proper sex education to her own daughter. Also, don’t underestimate our parents, they are far more liberal than we are. There are so many marriages in India that are ruined as people don’t want to talk about their sexual problems. They would rather do a puja than go to a doctor.
Recently a lot of Masala films have not done very well on the screen, how difficult or easy it is to pitch a content driven film in Bollywood?
I am very proud of Tamil cinema as they have taken up as very risky subjects and presented it very well. Bollywood has a certain marketing capability that it gives to content. Making a content driven film is easy in south and in Bollywood. But today Bollywood is very hungry for content, even if the movie is half good it looks very good. Public is now saying that give me something and I will forgive you.
What is the plan after this film? Will go back to Tamil cinema or continue in Bollywood?
Next, I am making a movie with Tom Hanks and Angelina Jolie. (Laughs) followed by Mahabharata with 50,000cr budget. These are something that I have always dreamt of saying only childhood. Whether it happens of not, dream tho hai na.