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N Shankar on '2 Countries', Sunil's market, a mistake & more [Interview]
Tuesday, December 26, 2017 • Telugu Comments

Director N Shankar is very optimistic about '2 Countries', the comedy he has produced.  The film releases on December 29.  Here is what he says in the interview.

Entertainment first:

Just like the Malayalam version, '2 Countries' is full of entertainment.  The audiences always love entertainment-based movies.  If the quality is good, a commercial film will also receive critical acclaim.

Hitherto, I had done only concept-based movies.  But I have always tried to be different from film to film. And every attempt of mine has received audiences' approval.

An acclaimed movie:

I was on a sabbatical after 'Jai Bolo Telangana'.  I know the director of '2 Countries', the Malayalam movie.  It became a big hit in that language and even stars like Shah Rukh Khan have loved it.

That's how the remake happened:

The director of the original told me to remake it in Telugu.  I then watched the movie and could imagine only Sunil in Dileep's place.

A different canvas:

About 50 percent of the movie has been shot in the US.  It's a New York-based story.  It's difficult to find indoor shooting locations in India as people feel that the unit members might cause a disturbance.  But in the US, they are ever-ready to lent their houses for shootings.  We had planned to shoot in just five houses; but we ended up shooting in 16.  The canvas is new in the movie.

The adaptation challenge:

Malayalis and Bengalis are very adept at making adaptations.  For example, 'Mathrudevobhava', a Turkish film, was first adapted in Malayalam.  Music director Gopi Sundar has said to me that I have adapted '2 Countries' so very well.  It's not often that the makers of the original appreciate a remake.

Sunil is the perfect hero for this film:

Sunil's body language, his age and screen image are very apt for '2 Countries'.

Everybody has an inner conflict in them about something or the other.  Sunil's character reflects the mindset of today's youngsters.  He plays a youngster who is rather aimless.  All that he wants is money.  He can do anything for money.  How the love of a genuine girl changed him is what the crux is about.  The climax is a heart-touching segment.  '2 Countries' is a meaningful movie.  I saw the final copy last night and am very satisfied with the output.

Why I turned a producer:

Sunil hasn't got a wide market.  So, if I were to approach a producer, he would ask me to shoot the movie in Bangkok instead of the US.  I wouldn't like it.  There is a lot of difference between how a technician thinks and how a producer thinks.

Manisha is perfect:

We tried to cast quite a few names for the female lead's role.  In the end, we chose Manisha Raj, who, despite being a debutante, has done a nice job.  In fact, she approached us with the desire to sing a song for the movie.  But when I first saw her, I saw an actress in her.  She had a character sketch of her own in her mind.  To be frank, she has dominated Sunil in some scenes.  I was surprised to see her performance.

Promoting aggressively:

We are promoting the film without bothering about the expenses.  The teaser and trailer have got a lot of positive buzz.  I am releasing the movie on my own.

Casting matters the most:

Every hero would have hits and flops in his career.  When an actor suits a character we have written, we shouldn't worry about his flops.  I did 'Ram' with Nithin.  When I did that movie with him, neither his image nor age suited it.  But failed to analyze it before making the movie.  The right kind of casting is a must.  I couldn't have done '2 Countries' with those youngsters who are into doing rom-coms.

Film with Kamal Haasan:

The story was actually okayed.  But around the time this project was under consideration, 'Vishwaroopam' happened.  That's why the project has been put in the backburner.

Remaking '2 Countries' in Hindi:

I am the producer of the Hindi version in association with T-Series.  Ajay Devgan will be the hero.

Newcomers' film in Telugu:

It will definitely happen and I hope that '2 Countries' will give it a booster shot.  I hope that after the film's release, the struggles will end.

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