Kookie Gulati says high voltage action scenes performed by Vivek Oberoi in his big-budget directorial debut Prince are the film's USP. He is confident the movie will surprise audiences with its implausible action sequences shot with cutting-edge previz technology in South Africa, Thailand and India.
"Previz is the short form of pre-visualisation. It is an animated form of storyboard. I made this previz to show that all those seemingly impossible stunts done by Vivek were actually possible and this is the way one particular scene should be shot," Gulati told IANS in an interview.
According to reports, producer Kumar Taurani has invested over Rs.40 crore in Prince. In the two-hour-six-minute film there is one hour of action.
Kookie used animated storyboard - previz - to make his associates understand how he wanted the action sequence to be shot. The advantage of previsualization is that it allows directors to experiment with different staging and art direction options without having to incur the costs of actual production.
"The first shot that we took was with 350 people, eight cameras across six buildings and Vivek on top of a building. We shot it in a day. If I hadn't done previz, it would have taken us six days easily because by the time everyone coordinates and understands what actually is happening and what we want to show, it would have been a mess. This previz was also required to convince people what I am actually trying to do. I had to do the storyboard first and then animators transformed it to a previz. We used it mostly for the action sequences," said Gulati.
Releasing on Friday, the film stars Vivek Oberoi in the lead role and Gulati roped in Nandana Sen, Aruna Shields and Neeru Singh to play female leads.
"There is a big twist in the film with one of these women. All of them claim to be Maya (character name). If I had cast big name in my film, you could have easily guessed who is the original Maya. That's why I didn't take big stars in my film," said Gulati.
Asked what made him choose these three girls, Gulati said: "We wanted each girl to have her own character. The story is of six days; so keeping in mind the pace at which the film moves there was not much time to set up each character and provide that length of story behind each of them. So the idea was to pick up good actors who can deliver in the time frame that was given to them on screen," he said.
The film's theme was Gulati's brainchild, but screenplay writer Shiraz Ahmed, who scripted films like Race (2008) and Wanted (2009), shaped it into the screenplay of Prince.
"We were very lucky that writer Shiraz Ahmed took a liking for me and agreed to write the script. It actually became a very huge plus point. We had an idea of the film we wanted to make and then obviously he took it on," said Kookie.
Prince narrates the story of a thief (Vivek) who wakes up one morning to realise he has lost his memory and that his life is at stake. Kookie had a couple of choices for the male lead, but signing Vivek was producer Kumar Taurani's idea.
"We needed someone who can carry certain kind of physicality and can act well at the same time. Because the way the script has been written, the storyline is very, very strong and all these actions and stunts come through it. Vivek became the obvious choice because he can actually pull it off. Kumarji took a call," said Kookie.
Gulati says he always wanted to make a film and was brushing up his skills by making music videos.
"I have been working with Kumar Taurani for the last nine years. I made a few music videos, but from the day I joined, I wanted to make a movie. But obviously it takes time. It's good that it didn't happen that time because I got time to discover myself," said Gulati.