Prashanth Varma: One cannot put a market value on Hanu Man
Prasanth Varma talks to CE about Hanu Man, his ambitions in the world of cinema and more
Prasanth Varma, who has created a niche by crafting successful, genre-centric films like Awe and Zombie Reddy, is currently busy with Hanu Man, his upcoming superhero film.
Hanu Man is Telugu cinema’s first indigenous superhero, who derives his magical powers from his divine namesake. Initially supposed to release on May 12, the film has been indefinitely delayed due to VFX issues.
Providing clarification on the film’s post-production workflow, Prasanth says, “The VFX work is going on as we speak, every other work is wrapped. We were promised by the VFX team that we will be able to get the entire output by the end of June, which will put us in a position to give an update regarding the film’s release during the first week of July. Each and every shot takes an enormous amount of time to render. We are using both American and Chinese renders. We have delegated and outsourced the entire list of our VFX works to different companies, who all work under the overviewing of our VFX supervisor.”
Much like Adipurush, which had its makers drastically change the quality of their video effects after the release of their teaser, Prasanth shares that the reception garnered by the teaser of Hanu Man had also made them up their game accordingly. In addition to improving the quality of their VFX, Prasanth mentions that he has added another character to the film, who according to him has improved the story from “95 to 200%”. The teaser has not just motivated the team to work harder, but has also opened up possibilities in a range of markets," says Prasanth. “At first, we thought of releasing the film in Telugu alone. Then there was a great response from the Hindi market for the story, while the Southern industries displayed enthusiasm for the film after we released the first look of Teja.”
When enquired about the marketability of mounting a superhero film with an up-and-coming actor like Teja Sajja, Prasanth remarks, “Can we ever put a market value on Hanumanthudu? His value is beyond numbers.” Continuing to speak about Teja, “We needed an underdog for this film. The point of watching a superhero film is to see an underdog realise his potential and rise to adversities, which cannot be achieved if we get someone who is already a hero from the get-go. Teja did a hundred per cent justice to this role, he also got a special makeover for this role.” Quelling apprehensions about the story taking certain unfavourable creative liberties from the Ramayana, Prasanth clarifies saying, “Hanu Man is not an attempt to modernise the epic. It is a superhero story set in the present day, which riffs off on the possibilities from an incident derived from the legend of Hanuman.” Continuing to explain how he tried his best to make a story that does not tread the path of blasphemy, even by mistake, Prasanth continues, “We pitched our story to different sections of people, from women to children to older folks to stay in the clear. For Hanu Man, we gave a narration to lyricist Siva Shakthi Datta (MM Keeravani’s father and collaborator), who is extremely diligent about religious nuances. We are confident that this film will entertain and meet everyone’s expectations.” Much like Batman’s Gotham, Hanu Man is set in a fictional town called Anjanadri. Prasanth cites that creating a fictitious location can enable them to take more pronounced creative liberties that real-life locations cannot provide. “If Gotham is based on New York City, Anjanadri, which is also the name of Hanumanthudu’s birthplace, is an island in Andhra Pradesh, somewhat like Yanam.”
Hanu Man is seemingly the beginning of Prasanth’s ambitious endeavours. The film is not only the origin story for its titular superhero but is also the first film from the Prasanth Varma Cinematic Universe (PVCU). The director has already announced Adhira, which is going to be a second film from PVCU. While Adhira being the launch project of Dasari Kalyan, the son of producer DVV Danayya is public information, Prasanth reveals that Adhira will also feature characters from Hanu Man. There is also a Balakrishna project on the cards for Prasanth, which will go on the floors once the star gives his dates. The director has been working with Scriptsville, his writers’ room for all his projects but he wishes to take things further by announcing plans to build a studio. “We have multiple scripts waiting to be made. I want people, new and seasoned, across all walks of the industry to join me, to build a studio that will combine the traditional sensibilities of Hyderabad with the workflow of the West. We have figured out a middle ground and I am confident it will take off,” signs off Prasanth.