Prabhu Deva on his upcoming film Lakshmi: An emotional dance drama that’ll make audiences laugh and cry

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Aug,22 2018 13:53:10 IST

Director Vijay and actor-choreographer Prabhu Deva, following the runaway success of Tamil horror comedy Devi (2016), have reunited for this week’s dance-based film Lakshmi. Featuring mostly newcomers from across the country, the film is also an emotional drama about a guru and his mentee. In this chat with Firstpost, Vijay and Prabhu Deva open up about attempting a full-length dance-based film, why it’ll set a benchmark in Tamil filmdom and their plans for Devi 2.

Prabhu Deva in a still from Lakshmi. Screengrab from YouTube

Prabhu Deva in a still from Lakshmi. Screengrab from YouTube

Recalling how the project materialised, Prabhu Deva says: “My first film with Vijay was Devi, which turned out to be successful. I thoroughly loved the experience of working with him. We wanted to work again and this was when we thought of doing a sequel to Devi, and we almost went ahead with the plan. But Vijay brought the story of Lakshmi and I really liked it.” Vijay, on the other hand, said it was cinematographer Nirav Shah’s idea to make a dance-based film in Tamil with Prabhu Deva. “Nirav suggested we make a dance film with Prabhu Deva. Prabhu sir and I were ready for Devi 2, but this thought of making a dance film with him stayed with me. I went and pitched the idea to him. Initially, he wasn’t interested because he felt we couldn't pull it off.”

Prabhu Deva had his own reservations about the project. “When I agreed to do the project, I told Vijay that if we do a dance-based film then it should really stand out. He had a clear vision about what he was doing and successfully pulled it off. Even though made for Tamil audiences with the emotions intact, the film will click universally. Apart from the dance angle, it has a very strong emotional core. I’m sure Lakshmi will make audiences laugh and cry. The relationship between a guru and his mentee has been portrayed very beautifully,” says Prabhu Deva, heaping praise on Vijay for handling the subject sensibly. “Vijay has made many good films. Some have worked and some haven’t. But I feel this is his best work yet.”

Vijay said making Lakshmi, which features child dancers from across the country, was more challenging than he had anticipated. “When I made Devi in three languages, I thought nothing could be more challenging than it for a filmmaker. But Lakshmi was even more challenging, and it was physically very taxing. We auditioned kids from all over India. We had actors from Assam, Aurangabad, Maharashtra and even Kolkata. Ditya Bhande, who plays the titular role, has a long way to go. I’m sure audiences will love their performances.”

Talking about the experience of sharing screen space and matching steps with kids, Prabhu Deva said that he was taken aback by their confidence. “These kids were extraordinary. Each one of them was a terrific dancer. It would take me 4-5 takes for some dance shots but some of these kids got them right most of the times in the first take. As adults, when we work, we have to deal with a lot of distractions. But these kids had nothing else on their mind. They put all their focus into dancing and were a treat to watch,” he said.

Asked if they think Lakshmi will open the doors for more dance-based films in Kollywood, Vijay said: “Irrespective of how Lakshmi gets received, I’m sure more filmmakers will be willing to bet on dance films. Films like these nurture real talent. The kids in Lakshmi are so talented and I hope this film serves as a platform for them to scale new heights in their careers.”

Vijay and Prabhu Deva confirmed they will soon join hands for Devi 2. “It was supposed to happen soon after the release of Devi. In fact, we had even set aside dates to begin work. It was around the same that Vijay brought Lakshmi and we decided to work on this instead. Devi 2 will happen very soon,” adds Prabhu Deva.

Updated Date: Aug 22, 2018 13:53 PM