'Pushpa: The Rise' was released in theatres on December 17. In this interview, director Sukumar talks about the film, the response to it, and the characterizations. He also talks about 'Pushpa 2' for the first time.
It was nearly impossible to complete a lot of the post-production works of the film in five languages in 25 days. We didn't have proper time for dubbing portions. I agreed to releasing the movie on December 17 only because of the uncertainty with respect to the pandemic. The producers had invested huge amounts. They told me I can target a February 2022 release if it's impossible. I didn't want to take any chances because we already faced many hiccups during the production part.
The second part of the film will explore Pushpa's childhood, his emotional scenes with his father, his half-siblings, etc. The main story is in 'Pushpa 2'. The film will not be about the don Pushpa. It will be about red sanders more. Prakash Raj and Jagapathi Babu are not part of the cast even in the second part. There might be an additional character but mostly, only the existing characters will be retained. The film will be released either for Dasara or in December 2022.
The backdrop of 'Pushpa' could have been bootlegging or something. But I chose red sanders smuggling as the backdrop because it is a high-stakes premise. It took me more than six months to research the subject. The original plan was to make it into a web series. Its span was deepened after I found it stimulating.
'Theggede Le' was needed to deliver impact. We remember the 'Mokke kada ani peekesthe' punchline from 'Indra' to this day.
Smugglers did use the tactic (hiding the smuggled red sanders in a milk van) I have shown in the movie to cheat the cops at the check post. Each lorry would carry stock worth Rs 28 Cr. Just imagine!
'KGF' had a huge backdrop. 'Pushpa' has an emotional backdrop; this is a new kind of commercial cinema. You can't compare the two films. They are unrelated in terms of the genres as well.
I have come to know that, despite the competition from 'Spider-Man', our film has created a record in Nizam territory. In Hindi, we didn't do adequate publicity due to time constraints. SS Rajamouli garu kept prodding me to do publicity. I told him my film is not a 'RRR' or a 'KGF'. He said that if I believe that it's a pan-India film, it will be one. Rs 4 Cr is what our film has made in North India (Hindi version) on Day 1. Bunny is quite popular among the Hindi audience. His popularity has fetched the film this kind of market.
Making every scene entertaining and thrilling is the only thing that runs in my mind all the time.
I lived in a village for 30 years. I come from a rural background. Where would that awareness vanish? That's why I could make a film like 'Rangasthalam' and this one. I don't have to imagine how houses look in a village, how people behave there.
I am getting good feedback about the climax. With time, people are liking it. Rao Ramesh is versatile. He can play any role. We are fortunate to have such artists. In 'Rangasthalam', I couldn't have thought of anyone else in Prakash Raj's place. I don't go for new choices if I have such actors already.
Samantha did hesitate to do the special song initially. But I convinced her, saying that star actresses have been doing it. Pooja Hegde did one in 'Rangasthalam'. I convinced her that she would look great. She said 'no' again. I later called her and requested her to trust me.
Pushpa doesn't have any disability. He doesn't put the 'gooni'-type posture because of any defect. It's a mannerism. I used to be like that when I was young.
Allu Arjun worked on the Chittoor dialect non-stop. At times, he would break into the slang even off-screen unconsciously. I have been inspired by some real-life characters in writing the 'Pushpa' franchise. A filmmaker sees the world differently from how others see it. When we come across a stranger, we notice his mien, behaviour, attire, etc.
After every film, I get into 'smashana vairagyam' mode. I feel exhausted and would feel like calling it quits. Doing a film like 'Pushpa' can be both emotionally and physically tiring.
I had a comfortable childhood. I never went through struggles, unlike my father. All my problems have been after becoming a filmmaker (in terms of challenges faced in making movies).
I like love stories and the chemistry between lovers. But, with age, I am not inclined to make romantic comedies as much as before.
I haven't been reading novels since 2004. During the pandemic, I have read a couple of novels. My focus got shifted to a web series (which didn't go through).
'Pushpa 2' will be a different experience altogether. I am very confident. The characters played by Anasuya and Sunil will have a very good stretch in the second part. Since the script is ready, it is likely to be completed in time.