Om Raut. (By Arrangement)
Om Raut’s next film, Adipurush, an adaptation of the Ramayana, starring Prabhas, is a much-anticipated one. The acclaimed filmmaker shares insights into the making of the movie.
What is Adipurush about?
Ramayana has had such a strong influence down the ages. Prabhu Ram and his incredible qualities have impacted many lives. I believe people of various age-groups can be inspired by Lord Ram. He has several great qualities, but in Adipurush, I am showcasing his Parakrama (splendor and magnificence) because that’s what inspires me at this point in my life. Had I made this film a few years earlier, I would perhaps have explored another side of Lord Rama.
Did you start looking at life differently after starting this film?
Definitely! Prabhu Ram’s thoughts and actions had a deep impact on me. I believe that what I learnt from the Ramayana has taught me to look at the brighter side of life. It has influenced my daily life directly or indirectly. I wake up every morning, wanting to be a better version of myself – this desire comes from the teachings of Prabhu Ram. I started to apply some of the principles during the shooting as well. We are a country of youths, and we need to spread the energy and spirit of Lord Ram among the young.
Making a film on Ramayana must surely be challenging.
Every day is a new challenge. In fact, shooting in the pandemic was very taxing. A film of this magnitude needs 350 people on the set and during the peak of the pandemic, in Mumbai, it was extremely challenging. Also, the nature of the subject itself is demanding. I couldn’t afford to get the facts wrong. But I have to thank my team - they have been extremely committed and strong. Without them I would not have been able to complete the project and carry out my vision. I want to thank producer Bhushan Kumar for his constant support and encouragement. We are planning to release the film on January 12, 2023.
How was the experience of shooting for the film?
Shooting for this film gave me a better insight into life. Shooting with actors like Prabhas and Saif Ali Khan was fantastic. Their ability to understand the craft and give their best for the film has been very inspiring and enriching. Also, this being a project heavy on VFX, it was even more exciting. I believe when you do anything in life with purity and sanctity the results will be positive and promising.
How enriching has it been, working with Prabhas?
Prabhas is one of the nicest persons to work with. He is kind hearted and also very logical. Apart from all his gestures like bringing us home-cooked lunch, the best aspect of him is that he always looks out for people on the sets irrespective of how big or small they are.
What are the aspects you asked Prabhas to work on for the part?
Every actor has a ‘to-do’ list when it comes to roles. Prabhas had one too, and followed it although the list was long (smiles). I asked him to work on his body shape. Prabhas plays Lord Rama who is an archer; and archers have a different type of body shape, like a V – they are broad at the shoulder and narrow at the waist. So Prabhas worked on his body. Also, he took training in speaking pure Hindi. He worked on getting the diction right. Although Telugu is his mother-tongue, he had to practice that too, because he had to speak shudh (pure) Telugu. And over and above all of this, he had to project calmness. Of course, Prabhas’ eyes are so beautiful that he could achieve that – he looks picture perfect as Adipurush.
Saif Ali Khan has played antagonist back-to-back in your films.
I needed a great personality and someone with great intensity and panache to play Raavan. Since Saif played an antagonist in my earlier film Tanhaji, I believed he had the ability to pull off any role with elan. When asked to pay Raavan, he readily agreed. I have to thank him because actors of such calibre don’t easily agree to play antagonists.