South Indian star Prabhas became a legitimate superstar with global appeal when his period fantasy epic ‘Baahubali’ franchise became a colossal blockbuster.
In the movie that broke all box office records and outdid Aamir Khan’s ‘PK’ earnings, Prabhas played a swashbuckling hero with the broadest shoulders, impressive agility and fierceness. So far, so good. But after its success, the actor whose fan following quadrupled overnight had a legitimate fear.
“After ‘Baahubali’, the biggest challenge was about next scripts to choose,” said Prabhas in an exclusive interview with Gulf News.
He was inundated with lucrative film offers which had potential to showcase his star-power and charisma. But the hulk-like dreamboat found himself gravitating towards a period romance ‘Radhe Shyam’, also starring Pooja Hegde, out in the UAE on March 11.
“I heard some three to four love stories out of which I liked this ‘Radhe Shyam’ a lot and I hope the audience likes it too,” he added. The actor, who counts iconic romances such as ‘Romeo & Juliet’, ‘Devdas’ and ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ as the greatest, yet tragic love stories of all time, hopes his new star-crossed romance will also set everyone’s hearts on fire. He plays a legendary palmist who believes that the woman he’s attracted to is likely to die, but despite the disturbing clairvoyance he still hurtles into the relationship.
Excerpts from our interview with Prabhas as we talk love, destiny, and how ‘Radhe Shyam’ is not anything like ‘Baahubali’ …
Tell us about ‘Radhe Shyam’ and what about it appealed to you the most?
‘Radhe Shyam’ is a war between love and destiny. You can also say it’s a romantic thriller and for the first time we have such retro visuals in Indian cinema as you can see in the trailer. It’s about this great palmist, Vikramaditya, who doesn’t have the love line on his palm and there’s a girl who doesn’t believe in love. However, they both fall in love with each other followed by some difficulties and challenges.
You play a palmistry expert in this film, but have you ever believed in that and what’s your biggest superstition when it comes to films or your art?
I never followed palmistry. I know a lot of interesting things and the fact that we have strong culture of rich astrology and palmistry. Some of my family members believe in it too, but I never followed it. I don’t have any superstitions or belief in any of these things.
For your audiences who know you from ‘Baahubali’, this is a stark departure. You are playing the quintessential heart-throb. How is it going to be different from your other iconic roles?
‘Baahubali’ was a periodic drama about a hero and a lot of other important characters. ‘Radhe Shyam’ is about Vikramaditya who is not a superhero but a genius, and Prerana [played by Hegde] also has a very strong character. The film has a lot of commercial elements but you cannot say it is just an action film.
What has been our biggest learning during the COVID-19 pandemic as an actor and as a human being?
Shooting ‘Radhe Shyam’ was challenging as it got cancelled many times. We had to go to Italy some three or four times and then to Georgia, only to suddenly stop the shoot and come back to India. The families and the crew of around 100 people were so stressed as a lot of RTPCR had to done every 3 days. We had a small kind of war going on and I want to thank all the crew members for being so supportive throughout it all. As a human being, I just want to say that nothing is bigger than nature. We should take care of it and understand it.
Keeping the movie in mind, do you believe in soul mates and destiny?
I don’t know much about soul mates. It is very nice to hear about it, but I don’t know how it works. I believe in destiny. And, I started believing in it after ‘Baahubali’ because something beautiful happened in that film and I started believing in destiny.
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‘Radhe Shyam’ is out in UAE cinemas on March 11.