Thursday, July 25, 2024

‘Securing finance was incredibly tough in Kalki 2898 AD’

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Filmmaker Nag Ashwin discusses his thoughts on the subject while taking pleasure in the reception and box office success of his most recent film, Kalki 2898 AD.

PNS | Hyderabad
Nag Ashwin, the director of the monumental sci-fi epic Kalki 2898 AD, expresses profound relief as the film grosses Rs 500 crore in its first week at the box office. Featuring an ensemble cast including Amitabh Bachchan, Prabhas, Kamal Hassan and Deepika Padukone, the film was a project of immense ambition and significance within the industry.
“The response to a movie like this goes beyond us,” remarks Ashwin. “The stakes were high, not just for us but for the entire filmmaking community waiting for the verdict on this sci-fi venture. Its success opens doors for future projects.”
Reflecting on the challenges faced during production, particularly navigating the pandemic and financial hurdles, Ashwin acknowledges, “Securing financing was incredibly tough, but the strong backing of our stellar cast and the goodwill from our previous successful collaborations provided some cushion.”
Acknowledging viewer feedback about the film’s pacing, Ashwin comments, “It’s universally noted that the first half, drawing heavily from the Mahabharata, was perceived as slow. In a three-hour epic, if audiences embrace most of it, I consider it a victory.”
From the moment Kalki 2898 AD hit theatres, viewers have been quick to hail her as the ‘soul of the film’. With fans and critics alike praising her powerful presence and nuanced performance, Deepika Padukone walking through flames—a moment that has gone viral since the film’s release—has resonated deeply with audiences worldwide. The striking visual has led many to dub her the new “Khaleesi”, drawing comparisons to the iconic character from Game of Thrones.
Director Nag Ashwin himself called the scene his favourite in the entire film. He said, “The visual of that scene and the way Deepika holds herself—the poise. I told her that if everything goes well, this is a movie poster that will probably live longer than you and me.”
Nag Ashwin did not hesitate to emphasise Deepika’s critical importance to the storyline. He revealed that extensive discussions during the writing process underlined her character’s significance. “She is the most important part of the story. We had a lot of discussions about it when we were writing as well. I think the simplest answer that we arrived at was: whose character do you remove and the story does not exist? And that became Deepika’s character. Because if you remove her character, there is no story. There is no Kalki,” he added.
Addressing speculation about Mahesh Babu’s role as Lord Krishna, Ashwin clarifies, “Krishna’s portrayal in the film was deliberate—maintaining his silhouette to preserve his divine essence without humanising him.”
Kalki 2898 AD continues to captivate audiences with its grand narrative and visual spectacle, solidifying Ashwin’s status as a visionary filmmaker in Indian cinema.

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