Why Prithviraj didn’t want a chat with Ayushmann

‘I did not have a chat with Ayushmann Khurrana.’
‘We didn’t have that session nor did I want one.’
‘I believe in doing work by myself.’

Malayalam Superstar Prithviraj gets ready for his latest film Bhramam, a remake of Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun, which releases on Amazon Prime Video.

“I remember watching Andhadun and thinking how it would work in Malayalam,” the actor tells Subhash K Jha in the first segment of a two-part interview:

You started your career as a leading man with 2002’s Nandanam. How do you see your journey so far?

I am thankful and the journey has been gratifying.

I can’t be complaining about the ups and downs.

It’s good to be in a place or industry where I know that if I like a script, I have enough clout to get it made into a film. As an actor, that’s all you can hope for.

I hope I am always in a position where if I say yes to a script, it means that it will get made.

A lot of learning has happened, a lot of lessons learnt.

There is a constant drive to learn more of your craft to keep updating yourself. It’s a never-ending process and I don’t want it to ever end.

Which among your films do you consider milestones?

Very tough to pick one.

Different films are important for different reasons.

Obviously, my first film is important for introducing me. Nandnam was a path-breaker for me.

At one point in my career, Classmates was a milestone film because it was a huge success and a path-breaker in a lot of ways in Malayalam cinema.

Then, there’s Puthiya Mukham.

There are eight films that I did back to back, which were important, like Celluloid, Mumbai Police and Memories.

They were really successful films that shook the existent concepts.

Lucifer is also a special film because it was my directorial debut.

Bhramam is your third release in a year on Amazon Prime Video. How do you manage to be so prolific?

The credit should go to the way the Malayalam film industry works.

We are very efficient with our turn-around time.

All these films that happened in the past year were shot in under 40 days.

Brahmam was shot in 34 days. A similar timeline was there for my previous release,Cold Case.

The post-production of these films took a couple of months and after that, we were ready with the film.

So credit should go to the way this industry works.

As an actor, I was relaxed.

From gigantic films that require 100 or 120 days, we have moved to these shorter films and suddenly it feels we are doing easy work.

Bhramam is your first remake of a Hindi film. What attracted you to this subject?

I am a huge Sriram Raghavan fan.

I don’t think he remembers, but I got in touch with him to remake one of his films, Johnny Gaddaar, in Malayalam.

I also love his Badlapur.

How different can we expect Bhramam to be from Andhadhun? Did you make a conscious decision to interpret the character in your own way?

Someone else has done their interpretation of that character and now I, as an actor, should not try to interpret their interpretation of the character.

When you watch a performance, you can only assume what their interpretation was, what their thought process was, what they were thinking while filming a particular scene.

I did not have a chat with Ayushmann Khurrana.

We didn’t have that session nor did I want one.

So as much as I love the original version, I do not base my work on the assumption of what the interpretation was in that.

I believe in doing work by myself.

I read the adapted screenplay and did my own interpretation of the text.

It was very important to base my interpretation on the Malayalam text and that is what I have done.

I hope people find it good.

I remember watching Andhadun long back and thinking how it would work in Malayalam.

I was shooting for Lucifer when Andhadun had released.

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