Polladhavan script tweaked to suit north Indian sensibilities in Guns of Banaras, says director Sekkhar Suri
Guns of Banaras director Sekkhar Suri and lead actor Karann Nath talk about the original script, how the Hindi film was made and more.
Director Sekkhar Suri is all set to bring Karann Nath to silver screen after a gap of 10 years with his latest offering Guns of Banaras, a remake of 2007 hit Polladhavan starring Dhanush. After watching Polladhavan, the director says, he wanted the story to reach a wider audience and Hindi was the best option for the purpose.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Sekkhar said he had tweaked the original quite a bit in order to suit “north Indian sensibilities”. He added that he has done away with dark elements and introduced commercial ones. “Polladhavan was a dark film and it worked with south Indian audiences. But I think, for north Indians, it may not work. I know Anurag Kashyap and several others have made dark films that have worked on the ticket windows but it does not happen all the time. Vetrimaran’s film was rather dark and conformed to regional sensitivities.”
“I had to rewrite the script to suit cultural and regional sentiments of north India and tried to add some fun elements in Guns of Banaras. I made it more appealing and transparent. I don’t want to use the word commercial but I think I have added commercial elements. I have made sure it is sensible, sensitive cinema with logic and right emotions,” he added.
Shot and set in Banaras, the film’s trailer suggests a heavy dose of cultural and religious details from the region. Asked if the backdrop was chosen deliberately, the filmmaker said, “When I saw Polladhavan, I needed a small town. I happened to like Banaras, the place, the culture, structure...everything, and I chose the place. There are Hindus, Muslims and foreigners in Banaras. It is known for its own flavour. You will get to watch the core of Banaras in the film, my main characters belong to a middle class family in the Uttar Pradesh town.”
The film’s lead Karann added, “I always wanted to do action genre. When I saw Polladhavan, I was completely bowled over by the content. I wanted to remake the film in Hindi for the audience in north. We based the film in Banaras. I have been involved in every step, scripting, post production... this is like my child.”
Asked if he feared backlash for his film, the director said, “People are talking about the title but it only means the youth of Banaras. The film is also about guns and gangsters but there is nothing in the film that people can be offended with. I have not made the film with the intention of hurting anyone’s sentiments - religious or otherwise.”
Asked about his film’s clash with Taapsee Pannu starrer Thappad, Sekkhar said, “The (two) films are different genres and I think all films should work will. How else will filmmakers continue making films and entertain?”
Karann, who made his debut with Yeh Dil Aashiqana (2002) and was last seen in 2009 film Tera Kya Hoga Johnny, also opened up on his 10-year break from films. “In my free time, all these years, I wrote a few one-line stories which I would love to make one day. I am not saying I am turning a director, writer or producer right away. Right now I want to focus on acting.”
Asked if he felt dejected at times, he added, “I am a positive person and am happy with my journey. I am lucky to be born in a family of famous people. My grandfather was famous actor (DK Sapru, actor in around 300 films including Pakeezah and Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam), my father (Punjabi film producer) and my mother was a writer, Saajan being her most popular film. Whatever happens, happens for the best.”
He also elaborated on his role, “I play Guddu Shukla who comes from a lower middle class family in Banaras. He is crazy about bikes and his parents can’t afford his dream bike. How he gets involved in crime world in the process of getting a bike, is what makes the film.”
The actor further said, “Our film has nothing to do with politics, nor are we trying to give any message through it. The story is really good, action is by Sham Kaushal who shot it in a very realistic manner.” Sham’s recent projects included Kalank, Mamangam and Student of the Year. He is also working on Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan.
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