Adithya Varma producer weighs on why Kabir Singh's success isn't a deterrent for Dhruv Vikram's debut film

Sreedhar Pillai

Jul 08, 2019 08:43:38 IST

The Arjun Reddy Hindi remake, Shahid Kapoor-starrer Kabir Singh turned out to be a blockbuster. The film panned by critics for its “toxic masculinity” has netted over Rs 250 crore at the start of its third week. It has done extraordinary business all over, including in Hindi cinema’s smallest market Tamil Nadu, where it grossed over Rs 2 crore in 10 days. It is Shahid Kapoor’s biggest opening in a state dominated by the Khan triumvirate (Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh in that order) and has done better business than the original Telugu film Arjun Reddy, also a blockbuster.

 Adithya Varma producer weighs on why Kabir Singhs success isnt a deterrent for Dhruv Vikrams debut film

Dhruv Vikram in a still from Adithya Varma. YouTube

The success of Kabir Singh in Tamil Nadu has raised doubts over the commercial viability of Dhruv Vikram’s debut film Adithya Varma. It is the much anticipated Tamil remake of Arjun Reddy. The fans and trade are asking whether the success of Kabir Singh in the state will eat into the box office of Adithya Varma. There is also an audience fatigue factor to take into account as both the Telugu original and the Hindi remake have done fabulous business in the state.

Adithya Varma has been mired in controversies right from the day Vikram, along with producer Mukesh R Mehta, purchased the remake rights of Arjun Reddy. Many people in the industry wondered whether the Arjun Reddy remake the perfect launchpad for Dhruv Vikram? Vikram initially felt that the director should be Bala, who gave him a new lease of life and made him a star with Sethu (1999), which many people thought was the inspiration for Arjun Reddy. Sethu was remade in Hindi as Tere Naam with Salman Khan in the lead. Bala, right from the beginning, was said to be critical of Arjun Reddy and made many changes in the original when he remade it in Tamil as Varmaa, with Dhruv Vikram on first copy basis.

After Vikram and Mukesh Mehta saw the completed version of Varmaa, they were shocked and decided to scrap it altogether. The buzz is that Vikram and Mehta decided to re-shoot the entire film and brought in Gireesaya, who had assisted filmmaker Sandeep Vanga Reddy (who was then shooting Kabir Singh) as director and also roped in Banita Sandhu (October-fame) as the leading lady. Vikram and Mehta brought in ace cameraman Ravi K Chandran to shoot the film while his son Santhana Krishnan was the cinematographer of Kabir Singh. The team wanted a faithful remake of the original, which they felt would work in Tamil. So What new would Adithya Varma bring to the Tamil audiences?

In an exclusive interview to Firstpost, veteran producer and distributor Mukesh R Mehta of E4 Entertainments, who is backing Adithya Varma, says, “How many people have seen Kabir Singh or Arjun Reddy in Tamil Nadu? I agree film is a superhit but 90 per cent of the collections have come from the multiplexes in Chennai City and its suburbs in Chengalpet area (nearly 85 percent of the Hindi-speaking population in the state resides in this area), which only forms 25 to 30 percent of Tamil Nadu box office, maximum 5 to 6 lakh audiences. There is a huge Tamil population out there who have not seen or heard about Kabir Singh or Shahid Kapoor. We are sure Adithya Varma will cross the 10-day Rs 2 crore gross of Kabir Singh on its opening day in Tamil Nadu! The shoot is almost over, save for a song to be shot in a hill station location probably Ooty. We are gearing up for an August/September release, as post production work is going on simultaneously.” 

Mukesh Mehta says Dhruv Vikram has come out with a terrific performance for a newcomer and will prove he is a chip of the old block. Mukesh says, “We have been faithful to the original as it is a film meant for the youth. It is the youth audiences all over India that made Kabir Singh a mega hit, and there is a huge youth audiences in Tamil Nadu too craving for a new hero. Dhruv is only 23 and the role fits him like a glove. I tell you the boy is going to go places after the release of this film as there is no youth icon in Tamil cinema. At the moment, there is a vacuum of a young star as all our popular stars are 40 plus.”

On the criticism about the subject being heavy on “toxic masculinity”, Mukesh shoots back, “ The noted critics have rated Kabir Singh between 1.5 to 4 stars, which itself shows the critics are divided. Some hated it others loved it.  However, the people, mainly the youth audiences, have made it a cult classic as reflected in its all-India box office collection. The Kabir Singh subject has been accepted by the pan-Indian audiences just like other male-dominated South Indian remakes like Ghajini, Rowdy Rathore, Singham, Simmba etc. I would say if Mani Ratnam’s classic Alaipayuthe (R Madhavan’s debut film in Tamil) was released today, critics would say it glorifies stalking."

As of now, Mukesh would be distributing Adithya Varma throughout Tamil Nadu. The film currently has a run time of 2 hours and 47 minutes, which they are trying to reduce by 15 minutes. Vikram would start a big promotional campaign to introduce his son Dhruv closer to the release date. Despite the trade having its reservations, Mukesh feels the Adithya Varma subject, treatment and hero Dhruv Vikram will work big time in Kollywood.

Updated Date: Jul 08, 2019 08:43:38 IST