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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Prabhu Solomon on Aranya: ‘We shot with Rana Daggubati in the toughest of locations’

Aranya deals with human-animal conflict. It will be releasing as Haathi Mere Saathi in Hindi and Kaadan in Tamil.

Written by Gabbeta Ranjith Kumar | Hyderabad |
Updated: March 22, 2021 10:08:38 pm
Prabhu SolomonPrabhu Solomon on making Rana Daggubati's Aranya. (Photo: PR Handout)

Director Prabhu Solomon, who is best known for films such as Mynaa, Kumki and Thodari, is back at the box office with the Rana Daggubati-starrer Aranya. The film will be released on March 26. Produced by Eros International, the movie stars Vishnu Vishal, Zoya Hussain and Shriya Pilgaonkar in pivotal roles. The actioner is also releasing in Tamil and Hindi with the titles Kaadan and Haathi Mere Saathi respectively.

Ahead of the release of the film, Prabhu Solomon interacted with the media and revealed what inspired him to make Aranya. Here are the excerpts from the conversation.

How did your journey for Aranya started?

I was doing my research in Masinagudi, near Mudumalai, for Kumki in 2013. While I was interacting with the mahouts and their families, I realized that there are many untold stories about elephants – how their population is reducing in India and how important their role is in forests. I could not incorporate all the information in Kumki as it was a love drama. So, I was waiting for the right platform to tell those stories. When Eros approached me and told me about their plans to make a film based on human-animal conflict, I suggested the plotline of Aranya. I travelled to Assam’s Kaziranga to know more details about where the wall was built in the reserve forest. One guy is fighting in the courts to break that wall, and the case has been going on since 2008. This is how the story of Aranya began.

After getting a greenlit for Aranya from Eros, I started auditions for the role of the forest man of India. I wanted someone who was about 6 feet tall, I wanted to mould this character on the Moses from The Ten Commandments film. We roped in Rana Daggubati, and after nearly three years, we are here for its release.

Did you take any inspiration from the story of Jadav Payeng, the forest man of India?

Even though the story of the forest man of India inspired me, Aranya is not his story. I took the essence of Jadav Payeng’s life. Aranya is entirely about the elephants and a man who gave his voice to their plight.

Were there any difficulties for you while shooting for the film?

The challenges started from the location recce itself. First, we went to Vietnam, then to Myanmar, and finally, we took Thailand as a middle point. We even went to Sri Lanka but they told us that they won’t allow shooting with the elephant calves. I needed a herd of elephants for filming purposes, and we got it in Thailand as there are so many private elephant parks available.

Is Aranya going to focus on the animal abuse issues which have happened recently in the country?

Aranya won’t be discussing the issue but I have always spoken against violence against animals. As individuals, we all must change our perceptions of animal cruelty. Otherwise, it will be just news.

How is Rana Daggubati’s performance in the movie?

I must thank Rana Daggubati for accepting the lead role. It’s an adventure film where we shot in the toughest locations without any production perks for the artists and crew.

Many movies have already come based on human-animal conflict. How is Aranya going to be a different one from them?

I have not seen any film as intense as Aranya, from the perspective of human-animal conflict. The movie is based on a true event that happened in Assam. I have adopted that problem in a way that I can make a movie on it. Aranya is completely a film about elephants. It depicts the love between a man and a herd of elephants.

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