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'Valmiki' has strong content, performances: Harish Shankar

Monday, September 16, 2019 • Tamil Comments

Director Harish Shankar is bracing up for the release of 'Valmiki' on September 20.   Starring Varun Tej as a gangster, the gangster comedy has Atharvaa Murali, Pooja Hegde and Mrinalini Ravi.  Catch the director talk about the movie in detail.  He also reveals his plans to turn a producer.  

The birth of 'Valmiki'

I always wished to showcase Varun Tej in a new way, which would be a far cry from his 'Toli Prema' and 'Fidaa' acts.  My intention to work with him on 'Dagudumoothalu' had its roots in this desire.  But when that project didn't fructify, I had other plans.  When 'Petta' was about to release, my attention turned to Kollywood director Karthik Subbaraj, whose films I like a great deal.  I watched his 'Jigarthanda', which inspired me to do a remake.  Varun Tej played ball.  

Inspiration is good

As a fan of movies, I have no issues with remakes.  People get inspired by personalities, ideas, novels, etc.  Why shouldn't they get inspired by a movie?  It's not like I am into doing remakes all the time.  My last remake was 'Gabbar Singh', which released in 2012.  Every movie is a remake in some or the other sense.  It's because they are inspired by something that already exists.  

Not many changes this time

'Dabbang' was changed substantially in remaking it as 'Gabbar Singh'.  On the other hand, I didn't tinker with 'Jigarthanda', which I feel is a beautiful script already.  Keeping nativity factor in mind, I did make mild tinkering here and there.  A major change pertains to Bobby Simha's character in the original.  In the remake, it is shown on a different scale.  

A fun actor to work with

Varun Tej is fun to be with.  I never had angry moments for the 85 days I worked with him.  He would calm me down with his words.  Coming to his look in the movie, I got inspired by how he used to look before debuting in movies.  I know how he looked years ago because I had seen his pics, thanks to his father.  

Title justification'

The great writer Valmiki became a changed man after he found inspiration.  That way, his place remains etched strongly in the history of humankind.  Varun Tej in 'Valmiki' undergoes a transformation.  I couldn't have found a better title.  

Other actors

Atharvaa Murali fits the bill as an aspiring filmmaker.  His body language, etc are perfect for the role.  Pooja Hegde was sweet to play Sridevi, who comes in the second half.  I can't reveal much about her role, which I want to remain suspenseful for now.  As for Miranalini Ravi, she is a very talented actress.  

Brahmanandam garu, comedian Sathya and a few others will be seen in fun roles.  

Remixing 'Velluvochi Godaramma'

The song's lyrics and tempo suit my script.  That's why I have shot it on Varun and Pooja.  Had I been looking for sensation, I would have remixed a song of Chiranjeevi garu or Pawan Kalyan garu.  

Long run-time

The run-time is long despite there being just four songs and only a few fights.  The reason is that 'Valmiki' has a strong story.  When content drives the film, length can go up.

Making Mickey J Meyer go massy

Having done 'Subrahmanyam For Sale' with him, I know he can be better.  After watching 'Mahanati', I became a fan of his music for the movie.  He has gone massy with 'Valmiki' and superbly so.  

Film with Pawan Kalyan

Let the fans and everyone wish strongly that I make a movie with Power Star.  Just maybe, your strong desire will become a reality.  I am as keen on teaming up with him as can be.  When I recently met him, he spoke about how I shouldn't take my success to head.  He didn't speak anything about cinema.  

Plan to become a producer

I would like to bankroll content-oriented movies.  I won't be able to do it solo, given that I am busy as a writer and director.  I am looking forward to teaming up with Krishna garu of 'Jawaan' fame, ('118' and 'Miss India' fame) Mahesh Koneru and a few other friends.

As for my next outing as a director, two-three projects are in the pipeline.  I will make it official only after the release of 'Valmiki'.

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