Q How much of the original French film The Intouchables have you retained in Oopiri?
I loved the soul in Intouchables and just want to make sure not to lose the soul while delivering it to our audience in a commercially viable way, but with a difference.
Q Films about the physically disabled like Sanjay Bhansali’s Black and Shonali Bose’s Margarita With A Straw have made a huge impact. Were you hoping for the same impact with Oopiri?
I think these films have already left a very positive impact and they cannot be equalled. What I liked in Intouchables is the theme that no one can escape from life and relationships and that’s what makes this life so very beautiful.
Q Didn’t you fear the audience might reject a film about physical disability?
Oopiri is not just about physical disability. I always feel that our soul is physically disabled many a times and gets suffocated and frustrated and we just need that one true companion who can give us relief, and that’s why audiences connect to these films.
Q Jr NTR was supposed to do Karthi’s role?
Jr NTR opted out because he had some prior commitments that he was not able to give up; then when we as a team were discussing who else could get under the skin of this character, we had no other choice but Karthi. That is how he came on board. And now we can’t imagine anyone else in that part.
Q Shruti Haasan was supposed to do Tamannaah’s role?
She opted out in the last minute saying she had some date issues.
Q How did you wok on the chemistry between Nagarjuna and Karthi?
I didn’t have to work on that at all. They just clicked with their first meeting and there was no stopping their camaraderie. They bonded as brothers in real life and that is where the magical layer in Oopiri originated. If the bonding hadn’t happened in real life then it would have been very tough to create an on-screen chemistry.
Q How about a Hindi film next?
I would love to. It is always a pleasure for a director to keep expanding his horizons. I never expected to direct a film in Tamil and Oopiri made that possible with its Tamil version Thozha.
Q Does Oopiri make you worried about living up to expectations?
I am not carrying around the baggage of what Oopiri has done to my career. Whatever I do I just want my heart to be with it. I think Oopiri has changed my perception regarding movie making. The heart must always be in the right place. Everything else falls into place after that....