Saturday, January 10, 2009

Deva on dream turf

With the stylish Villu, Prabhu Deva hopes to recreate the MGR kind of movie, with something for everyone, says s. r. ashok kumar

He started out as a dance master before turning into a celebrity choreographer. Called India’s ‘Michael Jackson’ for his gravity-defying moves on the dance floor, the wiry Prabhu Deva re-invented himself, first as a hero and then, as a film director. He now has to his credit three movies in Telugu and one in Tamil. Villu, his latest, will hit the silver screen on January 12.

The ace dancer-choreographer talks about the film and his work. Excerpts from the interview:

How do you cope with tension that your job entails? Are you the serious or the easy going kind?

At times, I am short-tempered, but on the whole, I am a happy-go-lucky person. People have said that my anger has taken a backseat after I became director. Now, I tell my cast and crew not to get worked up during shooting.

Pokkiri was a remake. What about Villu?

Villu is not a remake. It will be like an MGR film, with positive energy, electrifying performances and ingredients such as songs, fights and sentiment, coupled with beautiful visuals. And this formula will prove to be heady. Pokkiri had a lot of raw emotions, but Villu has style. I think it will probably be one of Vijay’s best films.

Does Vijay have a double role in it?

versatile Prabhu Deva

That’s for people to find out after watching the film!

The storyline of a recent film revolved around the father-son relationship. It is repeated in a forthcoming movie. Does Villu have a similar theme?

I don’t want to spoil the fun for the audience. But I guarantee that filmgoers will love it and want to watch the film again and again.

What are the highlights of Villu?

Vijay’s performance is one. And, Nayanthara, not only tackles the heroine’s role well, but also the comic scenes. She has matched the skills of one of our best comedians — Vadivelu. A great effort! Then, there are a couple of action sequences, which are new to the Tamil screen. These segments will remind you of James Bond movies. Devi Sri Prasad has done a wonderful job with the songs and the re-recording.

What is the significance of the title?

Well, it has a layered meaning. Like an arrow, the hero has an aim and tries to fulfil it. In Tamil, there is a saying, ‘Villukku Vijayan’. In Villu, it is ‘Villukku Vijay.’

You are five films old with Villu. How do you rate yourself as a director?

I’ve also done the Hindi version of Pokkiri with Salman Khan. It is in the post-production stage. However, I’m unable to rate myself. In fact, I’m yet to get used to the idea of being referred to as a director. I direct a film to the best of my ability — nothing more, nothing less. Let the audience judge my work.

Of your various avatars such as choreographer, actor, director and now lyricist ( Villu), which role is closest to your heart?

Dance choreography! Lyric writing was an accident. I made up a few lines and my assistants added a few lines. They had to mention someone’s name as lyricist and asked me whether they could use mine. I reluctantly agreed. But, I want to stress that I don’t want to intrude into or interfere with other departments in this field, now or later.