Ajay Devgn on ‘RRR’The Success and Meeting Audience Requirements In ‘Drishyam 2’

Panorama Studios’ Drishyam 2Ajay Devgn’s film starring Ajay has had a strong opening at Indian box office. It took in $9m its first weekend and is still holding strong today (Monday November 21). 

Abhishek Panak, who also directed the crime drama sequel, has a red carpet screening at the International Film Festival of India in Goa. Tabu Khanna and Akshaye Kanna are also starring in it. Devgn was seated with DeadlineHe met with Goa to discuss his film. It was partially shot on Indian beaches. His thoughts on the current state Hindi-language (a.k.a. Bollywood) cinema, and some of his upcoming films. 

Since the original, Indian audiences are much more demanding. DrishyamDevgn explains that the release was made in 2015. “It’s not just that audiences have seen much more content during the pandemic, it’s also the way production technology has changed. We’ve upgraded everything for Drishyam 2, because the film should not look outdated,”Devgn is himself a director and has three films under his belt.

“So the tone of the film, color palette, style of shooting has also been adapted. It looks edgier, more real. But the story definitely stars right from where the first one ended. In fact, you really need to see the first Drishyam before you watch the sequel,”Devgn includes.

It was a commercial and critical hit that grossed more than $14m globally. Drishyam The story tells the story of a man who does everything to protect his family from an unplanned crime. The first film was also titled Drishyam 2 These are remakes of Malayalam films, as well as their sequel. However, the Hindi sequel includes additional characters such Khanna playing a senior cop. Also, the Malayalam movie was remade in Telugu, Kannada, and Tamil languages. This led to a Chinese remake. Sheep without a ShephardThis was a hit in China right before the pandemic. 

This Hindi film is one of many that has been adapted from South Indian films. What is it about South Indian films that makes them so adaptable, then? “Some of them are just extremely well written, especially Malayalam cinema,”Devgn. “They have some great writers who are very intelligent, very smart.” 

The pandemic caused audiences to start watching subtitled and dubbed versions of South Indian films across India. This changed the definition of a pan Indian movie. A few years back, it was believed that Bollywood films were the only ones that could reach an Indian audience. 

“It’s not just Western audiences that discovered South Indian films during the pandemic, the rest of India discovered them also,” laughs Devgn, who starred in S.S. Rajamouli’s RRRThe Telegu-language film “The Movie” has been a global smash and is now vying for Oscars glory. “During the pandemic, our audiences took to OTT, a lot of content was dubbed or subtitled, and language was no longer a barrier.” 

Devgn is among two stars in the Hindi industry. RRR, along with Alia Bhatt, part of a new trend in Indian cinema where the countries biggest film industries – Hindi, Telugu and Tamil – are working more closely together. “When the audience is ready to accept this, then you start merging things together to make pan-India cinema,” Devgn explains. “I’m sure Rajamouli’s first intention would be to cast me because he had planned to release the film in a Hindi version also. Obviously, we’re going to merge and that’s very good for all of us.”

Recent attention has been paid to the success of South Indian cinema. Bollywood has seen a string of flops. Devgn however points out that the ratio for hits and flops within the Telugu-Tamil industries is roughly the same as Bollywood. But Drishyam 2 is currently tracking at the same level or above some of the year’s biggest Hindi releases – Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2And Brahmastra – and is also performing well in international markets. Is it capable of breaking the Bollywood box office drought? 

“I personally feel that you need three great experiences for the audiences to get back into the habit of going to theatres,”Devgn. “If you see two or three films in a row and have a great experience, then you start to regain trust. But if see one good film, and the  next one is not so great, then you still get put off.”

Devgn claims that production in Hindi has slowed down, but investors have become more cautious because of declining box office. He appears to have been busier than ever this year. Recently, he wrapped MaidaanInspired by the story Syed Abdul Rahim, the football coach, was the inspiration for this film. He is widely regarded as both the architect of Indian football and an action filmmaker. Bholaa,which he has directed and starred in. He will now begin shooting. Singham 3He is currently working with Neeraj Pandey on an untitled project.

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