Director Prem is currently very busy as his much-awaited film Villain hits screens this weekend. In an interview with indianexpress.com, the director spoke about his upcoming big-budget film starring Shivrajkumar and Sudeep in the lead roles. He also talked about the pressure on him to make another film like Jogi.
“I implore, the audience not to expect another Jogi from me. There can be only one Jogi. It is history now. I can’t repeat it,” he said while recalling the time he passed on the opportunity to direct Superstar Rajinikanth in the Tamil remake of Jogi.
“When Rajinikanth sir asked me to direct him in the remake of Jogi, I refused. Appaji (Dr. Rajkumar) and Shivanna (Shiva Rajkumar), all advised me to jump on it. They said it was once in a lifetime opportunity. After thinking about it for about a month, I met Rajini sir in person, prostrate before him and apologised saying I can’t make Jogi with him,” he recalled.
“Jogi was inspired by a real story. Even certain episodes of the underworld were based on actual incidents. I was afraid that if I make the film to match his (Rajinikanth’s) stardom, I could not afford to retain the realism that I managed to achieve with Shivanna,” he justified the rationale behind declining to do a film for Rajinikanth.
“Even Salman Khan and Prabhas asked me to do it. But, I didn’t agree,” he noted. “If I do a film with Rajinikanth sir, I will have to include a fight in the climax. For example, in the Telugu remake, Yogi, there was a fight in the climax. Which I won’t do.”
Jogi (2005) was a perfect mix of melodrama and realism, which went on to create box office records at the time and became a landmark movie in the Kannada film industry. It followed the life of a village simpleton, who ends up ruling the underworld in Bangalore. The movie was remade in Telugu as Yogi with Prabhas and Dhanush essayed the lead role in Tamil remake, Parattai Engira Azhagu Sundaram.
As envisioned by Prem, the remakes failed to create the magic of the original.
Villain is due in cinemas on October 18.