He’s directed hits like Wanted (2009) and Rowdy Rathore (2012). And big names, including Shahid Kapoor, Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan, are either working or want to collaborate with him. But director-actor-choreographer Prabhu Dheva refuses to take all the credit.
People in Bollywood call you ‘the hit machine’. Are you flattered by such labels?
You have to be cautious with such tags. It’s scary because your responsibility goes up. I never take the success of one film to another. Every movie has its own destiny. Plus, I have been in the industry for 27 years and have seen enough ups and downs (smiles).
Your film with Shahid will release soon and you are shooting one with Ajay. You will also work with Saif Ali Khan, Salman and Akshay. Looks like everyone’s waiting for you.
Not really. It’s the other way around; I am waiting for them. They are big stars who are busy doing their own films.
But it must be a good feeling.
Of course, I am a human being, so I do feel happy. The biggest challenge is to not let things go to your head. They all believe in me, so I have to live up to their expectations.
You turned Salman’s career around with Wanted and then gave Akshay Kumar his biggest hit (Rowdy Rathore). Do you feel like you’ve played an instrumental role in their careers?
There are ups and downs in everyone’s lives. Forget such big names, no one can revive or save anyone’s career. For a film to work, the director, producer and actor have to work together. In Wanted, for instance, Salman and Boney sir took a risk (by agreeing to do the film) at a time when romantic films and comedies were the order of the day.
How are you managing careers in Chennai and Mumbai?
I am focusing on Hindi films right now. A lot of people in Chennai ask me if I am going to make a Tamil film, but since I am directing so many Hindi films, I have to be in Mumbai — physically and mentally.
So you have shifted to Mumbai?
I have two bags — one in Chennai and another in Mumbai (laughs).