You have made it a practice to come up with sequels to your films. How challenging is it
People assume making a sequel is easy. Thats not true. While making a sequel, you are bound by characters who are already famous, thanks to the previous film. They need to move forward in the sequel, but at the same time you cant explore new territories. Yes, there are certain advantages. I dont need to explain what the movie is about or introduce the characters. This helps in promotions.
Have you heightened the drama and action for Singham Returns
I had to do that, otherwise the audience might feel that it lacks the punch of the original. However, when I saw the final cut of the movie three days ago, I knew that they would not miss Singham. I want them to get high on entertainment and come out of the theatre happy.
How do you ensure that the viewers dont miss the original
Golmaal Returns in 2008 was a learning experience for us. We had missed the high points and comedy of the original Golmaal (2006). We were arrogant and took digs at everyone. By the time the movie released, I became aware that it was an average film. We got lucky and the film did well. I realised we needed to work harder, bring in more emotions and make the characters livelier. We learn not just from our failures, but successes too.
How do you make a masala movie work every time
You need to maintain the connect you have with your audience. When you watch the same film in a multiplex and at a single screen its like you are watching two different movies. The experience is totally different. One has to deal with such a varied audience in the country. When Singham Returns releases, 20 per cent will not like the film, but I feel the need to cater to the rest.
What are the departments you give priority to in your kind of cinema
Every department music, drama, writing. Singham, Golmaal and Chennai Express are all commercial films, but their presentation is not the same. The colour scheme, dialogue and approach to Singham and Chennai Express is very different. We cant put the rawness of Singham in Chennai Express as its a sweet film.
There are two distinct flavours in your films comedy and action. How do you maintain the balance
We try to give the audience a high, make them laugh and fall in love with our characters these are all emotions to entertain the audience. We treat our audience like kids. You have to do something dramatic every 10 minutes to engage them.
How seriously do you take the crores your films make
People look at me and think I am a multi-millionaire. All the box-office income does not come to me. The Rs 100 crore, Rs 200 crore or Rs 300 crore earnings are the new versions of silver, gold and platinum jubilee they are the new measures of a films commercial success.
Now that you have turned a producer with Singham Returns, will all those crores come to you
Not really. I have spent a lot on this film. I turned producer because it gives me a free hand, and by that I dont mean having a free hand in spending the money. I can experiment a bit and expand my cinematic canvas as my money is at stake. When someone else invests in my project, I have to be careful.
How crucial is the presence of a star in your films
It is important to cast a star when you need an actor with an image. Sometimes you need star power to make a film believable. Ajay beating 10-15 people is believable.
How is Singham Returns different from its predecessor
This is the first film I have shot in Mumbai. I wanted to show how beautiful and vast the city is. Mumbai police helped us with permissions. They opened up a few places to us, such as the Gateway of India, where no one has been allowed to shoot since the terrorist attacks. The film is dedicated to them.