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Mahesh Babu was First Choice to Make Film About Red Sanders Smuggling, Says Pushpa Director Sukumar

Director Sukumar says that he initially wanted to make a film about Andhra Pradesh red sander smuggling case with Telugu star Mahesh Babu but the project did not materialise. The filmmaker said he later tweaked the story and roped in Telugu star Allu Arjun, hence creating the two-part multilingual film — Pushpa: The Rise and Pushpa: The Rule.

The first part, which released on December 17 in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada and Malayalam, chronicles the red sanders heist in the hills of Andhra and depicts the convoluted nexus that unfurls in the course of the narrative of a man who is taken by avarice. “The story I narrated to Mahesh Babu was also based on red sander smuggling but that was a while ago. Once I came out of the project, I wrote a different story. I wanted the character attitude.

“And with Mahesh Babu, I couldn’t make him cool. He is very fair. So, the backdrop was the same but the story is different,” Sukumar told PTI in an interview. Once the Telugu filmmaker began actively working on the new script, Arjun was the only actor he had in mind. The duo earlier collaborated for 2004’s Arya and its sequel Arya 2, which came out in 2009.

“We (Arjun) have a very good bond and we are good friends. We have worked on Arya and Arya 2. He agreed to do the movie soon after I narrated the idea, he was very excited. And when I completed the story, I went to him again. Also, we started Pushpa’ as a Telugu movie but then with the subject and Allu Arjun being on board, we thought of making it as a multilingual,” he added.

At one point, Sukumar said, he thought of making Pushpa as a web-series. “I started researching for a web-series, I wanted to make (it as) a web-series on red sanders smuggling. But then I thought that it is also a very commercial idea and making a movie would be the right thing,” he added.

The filmmaker also explained the reason for splitting the movie into two parts — Pushpa: The Rise and Pushpa: The Rule. The latter will commence production next year. “It was one complete story first and when we started editing in between, we felt it is better to make it in two parts. We can’t let the whole story come out in a single part. Then I told the producer and my hero about the same and we all discussed it and that’s how things happened,” he added.

Pushpa: The Rise also stars Rashmika Mandanna and Fahadh Faasil. In the film, Faasil is seen as a nemesis to Arjun’s Pushpa, and the director said the Malayalam star was the ideal choice for the role, courtesy his power-packed performances in all of his previous movies. “I remember watching Fahadh’s film Maheshinte Prathikaaram and then I started watching almost all his films. I am a great admirer of his work and wanted him to come on board. He is a good performer. He is so fabulous that any director would want to cast him,” he said.

Speaking about the status of Pushpa: The Rule, Sukumar shared that the script is ready and shooting is most likely to kickstart from February end or by mid-March next year. Pushpa: The Rise is produced by Mythri Movie Makers in association with Muttamsetty Media. Meanwhile, post the release of the second chapter of Pushpa, Sukumar said he plans to work with Ram Charan and Vijay Deverakonda on different movies. The director had earlier worked with Charan in 2018 blockbuster Rangasthalam.

“I will be working with Ram and Vijay on two different films. We will begin work on the script once I am done with Pushpa 2. Both are such good actors, it’s a joy to work with them,” he said.

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