Prince — It’s Showtime has opened to encouraging houses in the middle of IPL Season 3 and producer Kumar Taurani is a happy man.
"Two-and-a-half years of hard work was finally worth it," he exults. "We’ve created a brand that could take the Prince franchise forward. Plans for a sequel are definitely on."
Try to pin him down to a deadline however and Taurani insists that it’s too early to commit to a date or even a probable cast. "We’re working on the script, that could take anything between six-eight months.
Once that’s locked, we’ll get down to fixing the rest." He agrees that Vivek Oberoi will undoubtedly be the "first choice given his connect with the audience". But adds a lot would also depend on whether Prince, the second time around, will be a "young thief or a mature government agent".
He points to the fact that while having a familiar face does work to the brand’s advantage initially, once the franchise is established, the actor becomes secondary. He makes an example of the James Bond films that started out with a "star", Sean Connery, but in the 21st edition opted for a little- known actor, Daniel Craig. In the case of Prince however, the reverse was true with Tips putting their confidence in Oberoi whose last hit was Shootout In Lokhandwala in 2007.
“What worked for Vivek is that he is a good actor who we knew would be able to convincingly carry off the ‘confused’ part following Prince’s memory loss. “Also, despite some bad accidents in the past, he was ready to do the stunts himself and that made the action believable. He trained for five months, gave another five months for the shoot and two months to promoting the film. Which actor would give a year to a film?” asks Taurani. He also took a risk casting three little-known actresses, Nandana Sen, Aruna Sheilds and Neeru Bajwa, as Prince’s Mayas but says he did it to heighten the suspense.
“May be we’ll opt for bigger names if the story demands it the next time,” says Taurani, along the lines of Race that boasted of actresses like Bipasha Basu and Katrina Kaif. The one thing he guarantees is that Prince 2 will definitely be an action thriller with more daredevilry of the kind you saw in Part 1 that had a diamond robbery, a bike chase on the terrace and jumps from tower tops.
“Action sells,” asserts Taurani, whose surprise hit has been packing in the crowds not just in the metros and multiplexes but also in single screen theatres and smaller centres like Orrisa and Assam. He adds, “We saw it earlier with Race and last year with Wanted. From the time the promos appeared, there has been talk that Prince was inspired by Bond, Bourne Identity, Dhoom and even Ghajini but by now everyone knows that it’s completely original. And I can promise you more action in the coming installments.”
Kumar Taurani meanwhile is working on a couple of other projects that will be announced soon. Brother Ramesh is busy with another couple of projects: “Tips will come up with at least two films every year.”