Salaar director Prashanth Neel's recent interview has almost given it away that the upcoming film will be a 'remodelled' version of his debut 'Ugramm'. Will that impact the Prabhas starrer's chances?
It's been an open secret, so to speak, for a while that Prashanth Neel has reimagined his debut film Ugramm as a bigger, more opulent design to create Salaar. Almost everything at this point suggests that the upcoming 'magnum opus' will have stark resemblances with the 2014 Kannada film, which catapulted Neel into the big-league realm.
Something about the way he told the archetypal story, the manner in which he elevated things and the conviction he boasted about his approach - it all managed to set him apart from the rest. And it helped that the filmmaker in him dared to dream only bigger and chose to follow up Ugramm with a phenomenal idea such as K.G.F. Again, that film too might not seem a remarkably original or unusual idea on paper but Prashanth Neel proved that his distinct vision, the way he wishes to visually mould his stories is what makes him a unique voice.
Criticize him as much as you wish to, but there's a reason why his storytelling model has worked wonders thus far. And to top that, Prashanth Neel has steadily amped up the scale of his films since his debut and tasted success every single time.
Consequently, his fourth film Salaar occurs at a crucial juncture. On the one hand, he is the master builder who seems to know the shorthand for a global blockbuster. On the other, he has a big point to prove that he isn't just a 'one trick pony' who has stuck to a verified visual template and narrative technique - the dark & "gritty" colour palette, the blaring soundtrack of Ravi Basrur and the production design have now become common features of his work, and that's where a lot of the criticism has stemmed from. Thereby, Salaar carries the heavy burden of addressing all this and more. Do we have another KGF 2 in the offing? Or is Salaar an experience of its own kind?
The answer's out, after much ado, on December 22. In the lead-up to the grand release, one senses a tremendous amount of excitement among moviegoers but there's also scepticism emerging from within them, a kind of nervy hope that everything will come through as intended ultimately.
But what about the Ugramm factor? In a recent interview with a media outlet, Prashanth Neel disclosed that his upcoming two-part epic (with the first one titled 'Ceasefire') will explore how two friends become arch-enemies and that the journey of these two friends will be traced over the conceived two parts. Now, those who have watched the Kannada film will know that the essence of that film too was friendship as it dealt with how two thick-as-thieves friends turn foes because of a substantial reason.
Sriimurali plays the protagonist who must revisit his gory past to address this matter and one could expect Prabhas to portray a more 'larger-than-life version' of this part - Does that mean Prithviraj Sukumaran plays Tilak Shekar's role in Salaar? It's possible that Prashanth Neel felt that the subplot of friendship remained a tad unexplored in Ugramm and has since then wished to lend it a different canvas. Cue Salaar, which potentially arrives as a remodelled version that has echoes of the 2014 film but also boasts a world of its own.
Now, the question is whether the Ugramm traces will impact how Salaar is received by the audiences. The makers have ensured that they do not refer to the former title at any point while promoting the upcoming film, but the trailer, which is due to release on December 1, might give it away. Fans of Prabhas, though, seem undeterred at the moment and are keenly looking forward to seeing the actor return to form with the film. Salaar trailer will be out on Friday at 7:19 pm.