The season of remakes is auguring well for homegrown filmmakers. And director G Ashok is the latest person to join the club of Telugu directors who are aiming for a firm footing on the Hindi turf. His horror thriller Bhaagamathie, which is remade in Hindi as Durgamati, got released on Amazon Prime Video on Friday. The director says he owes Telugu people back home for whatever stature he achieved so far.
Ask him what is driving Telugu directors to explore new pastures in Bollywood, leaving behind the regional industry, Ashok says it is the number that does all the talking. “When the proposal of Bhaagamathie remake was placed before me, I first searched on YouTube to understand how many viewers watched the Hindi dubbed version.
People from Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and several other locations had watched the film. The barrage of messages and applause are what excited me. I owe this to Telugu audiences for my film wouldn’t have reached Akshay Kumar, who is producing it, if audiences back home hadn’t welcomed it,” he says.
When asked what was his effort to keep the backdrop authentic to the Hindi-speaking belt, he says: “If a movie, which was meant for target audiences of 10 crore, has gradually met the demand of 70 crore people, what else could one ask for? The makers trusted that only I could handle the project better because I had invested five years’ time on the original one. They felt that I could retell the story in a more enhanced way.”
Craft is same everywhere
An expert classical dancer, Ashok started his filmy career when he was a child. Later, he went behind the camera as choreographer working with some hit movies of Megastar Chiranjeevi and Nagarjuna. However, his penchant for story-telling drew towards screenwriting. Nani-starrer Pilla Zamindar was a runaway success in 2011.
But, it was Anushka Shetty’s Bhaagamathie that put him on a pedestal. Ashok says the craft is all the same everywhere. “On a practical note, the industry gives wings to your ideas in terms of budget and other logistics. People I got to work with here are incredibly skilled and deep-sighted,” he adds.
And on how different is the Hindi remake from the Telugu version, he shares, “There is a dose of thrill and horror added to Durgamati. Hindi remake more or less runs on the same lines as that of the original. It is adjusted to the sensibilities of Hindi people in a more enhanced way.”
Talking about the title role, Ashok felt there is no need to draw comparisons between Anushka Shetty in Bhaagamathie and Bhumi Pednekar in Durgamati. “Perspective on the film gets changed based on the performances. Anushka had proved it.
Now, Bhumi, too, will do it. As we know she pulled it off very well. Choosing her was a conscious decision by Akshay Kumar. She had been a casting director prior to acting. Later, she did performance-oriented roles and that’s what makes her stand apart from other stars. I am sure Durgamati would change her fortunes and fame,” he signs off.
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