The filmmaker returns to Telugu cinema after a two-decade long sabbatical with the Chiranjeevi, Nayanthara starrer
Last Updated: 02.34 PM, Oct 03, 2022
Mohan Raja, who made his directorial debut with Hanuman Junction and carved a niche as the remake specialist in Tamil cinema later, is returning to his roots - Telugu cinema - with the Chiranjeevi, Salman Khan and Nayanthara starrer Godfather. The film, to release on October 5, is also a remake of a Malayalam hit Lucifer starring Mohanlal. In a chat, he shares his ‘Godfather’ experiences.
“It feels great to be back in Telugu cinema after two decades. Though I was born in Tamil Nadu, my career took shape here with Hanuman Junction. I never felt I lost in touch with Telugu films. I remade six Telugu films on the trot in Tamil and am glad that Thani Oruvan was remade as Dhruva here. In fact, it was during Dhruva 2 discussions that Godfather materialised,” he shares.
It was producer NV Prasad who recommended his name to Chiranjeevi for Godfather. He states the former was always wanting him to return to Telugu cinema and even got him to meet Mahesh Babu once. “I met Ram Charan during Thani Oruvan. When we were discussing Dhruva 2 and NV Prasad came up with my name for Godfather, both Ram Charan, Chiranjeevi were excited,” he says.
The filmmaker, who had watched Lucifer, the original, much before the big meeting, gave a new dimension to the story that Chiranjeevi liked. “We’ve come up with an entirely new screenplay for the film and there’ll be many twists and turns. Over 10 characters that don’t feature in the Malayalam version are part of the Telugu remake and they’ll surprise you,” Raja feels.
The director is confident that Telugu audiences will appreciate the changes he’s brought to the remake. Mohan Raja claims to be a big fan of Lucifer himself and its director Prithviraj Sukumaran. “It’s a ‘love affair’ that lasted for a year and a half and I’m aware of what worked and didn’t work in the original. I made Godfather with greater love and clarity.”
Explaining his decision to cast Satyadev, he shares, “Jaidev is a tricky villain and it’s a role that you’ll remember long after it’s over. A film is always interesting when the villain poses difficult problems for the hero. Satyadev gives Chiranjeevi many mind boggling challenges through the story.” The drama will have a racy screenplay with Chiranjeevi’s presence being felt even when he isn’t around.
Reportedly, the pressure of working with Chiranjeevi and Salman Khan didn’t get to him as they made him feel very relaxed and comfortable. “We got Salman on board because the role, originally played by Prithviraj, demanded a huge star. I felt someone who’s an outsider to Telugu cinema will create a greater impact with the role. Charan’s friendship with Salman ultimately sealed the deal,” he states.
The Jayam director mentions that Puri Jagannadh, Murali Sharma, Samudrakhani, Brahmaji and Shafi will all have meaty roles in the story. Also, Raja doesn’t deny the possibility of Godfather 2 and says he has a good idea for it. Thani Oruvan 2 also may happen soon.