I've got used to unfair criticism

Filmmaker Sandeep Vanga reflects on the flak his films face, and his next project, Spirit, starring Prabhas

Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s recent film Animal scripted box office history, but also drew severe flak for being misogynistic and promoting masculinity. Despite the hullabaloo and controversies, the director, with a hat-trick of successes (Arjun Reddy, Kabir Singh and Animal), has entered an elite league, drawing the attention of all Bollywood star heroes.

Life is after Animal

“Nothing has changed much,” he smiles. “The success of Animal gave me the impetus to tell more rooted and intense stories about emotions and relationships. To me success means reaching out to more people, not the box office numbers,” he shares.

Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh, too received flak, and when it was the turn of Animal, Sandeep says he was initially upset, but got used to it later.

“There’s constructive criticism which I like and appreciate. But I have got used to unfair criticism as well. No film can 100 per cent satisfy all the audiences and get their love. But for my films, the polarisation is at a different level. And yes, it bothers me,” he says.

Pseudo feminists...

Many women have come down heavily on the filmmaker’s depiction of women and his portrayal of alpha male behaviour. Sandeep describes them as ‘pseudo feminists’. “My grandmother, mother and sister are all true feminists. I have been surrounded by women who are real feminists. In fact, my sister and my wife saw the film and loved it. They felt there was a lot of bloodshed, but never talked about ‘toxic masculinity’ or felt that I had disrespected women,” he says.

Several top stars from Bollywood have texted Sandeep and appreciated Animal. The director says such messages give him a high and open up opportunities to narrate stories to them in the future.

According to him, he never takes on the pressure of living up to expectations and delivering blockbusters every time. “If I take pressure, it’ll lead nowhere. I make sure they (audiences) are entertained every time they flock to theatres. My focus is only on whether the story was going in the right direction or whether I was boring the audience.” And since audience approval seems to be growing with each film of his, he says he wants to repeat the formula.

Next, a film with Prabhas

Sandeep’s next film is Spirit, with superstar Prabhas. The director says it’s an intense action entertainer. “We are currently working on the script and the film will go on the floors later this year. Prabhas will be seen as a cop, but I can’t reveal more about his characterization at this point than to say that his role will be one that hasn’t been seen hitherto,” he says.

On Shobhaa De’s comment

‘She spoke without common sense’

Shobhaaji has commented without seeing my film. Initially, I was shocked but later laughed. I thought she spoke without common sense. She didn’t see the film, so she doesn’t know what happened after that scene (where a woman is asked to lick the protagonist’s shoe to prove her love) she mentioned in her video. I could have replied to her on social media, but I thought, ‘what is the point in discussing with someone who hasn’t seen the film?’

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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