Directors like Puri Jagannadh and his films will always remain young at heart. The director, known to launch newcomers, is bringing to the screen Ishan through a bilingual film Rogue, to be made in Kannada and Telugu. Puri in a conversation with City Express says, “Producers who believe in me think that I can make a star out of a debutant.”
Romance is the best genre to start with, says Puri. “I don’t believe in burdening the freshers with heavy stories. Secondly, the focus should be on the hero and romance is the easiest way to do it, thankfully the formula has worked well so far,” he says.
The director kept Ishan close, infact invited him to stay at his home, while film was in the making. “This boy impressed me at the very first sight when producer,
V Manohar introduced me to him,” says Puri. “Though he went to an acting school, I sent him to Bangkok to be trained in stunts. I changed his hair colour and arranged for photoshoots. I regularly did Dubsmash with him, to help build his confidence… all of this took four months.”
Puri is now planning to do two more films with the newcomer and one under his own banner. “I believe that artistes are born with certain talents and I just nurture what is already there,” he says. “Acting schools can only give them tips, not make them actors. Actors must have dedication and confidence, and I saw both in Ishan. He is humble and focused and one day I hope to see him as a star.” Puri adds.
Puri directs stars the way he does newcomers. “I don’t know whether it is a good thing, but I never watch films of stars,” he says, “This has helped me project them in an all new way. Actors such as Mahesh Babu, Prabhas, Pawan Kalyan and NTR are aware of it… The last film I remember watching is Amitabh Bachchan’s Mard. Being his fan, I didn’t like seeing him in badly made movies, so I kept watching Mard again and again till I got tired of it. It’s the same sentiment that keeps me away from other star’s movies. Today I only watch films I have made.”
Another quirk of his is that he writes all his scripts in Pattaya. “I require two visits for each subject. The first is to get the scenes in order, I return to Hyderabad to finalise the cast, then I go back to Pattaya to write the dialogues,” he says. “I love to sit in front of Pattaya beach, from morning to evening, with no phone calls and friends.”
Apparently, other directors have tried his method of heading to the beach but with little success. “They have told me that they couldn’t write a single word,” he says. “When I am writing, I become a saint and I never distracted by bikinis that are quite the norm in those beaches,” says Puri, laughing out loud.
Puri tattoos the names of all the movies he has directed and Rogue on his right fist is the latest. He makes another confession, Puri likes his movies to carry negative titles. Among his list of movies include Pokiri, Loafer, Idiot and Rogue. “But my heroes are good people,” he says. “In Rogue, he plays a tough guy… he is like the rogue elephant that stands out from the rest.”
Rogue has glamourous girls in Mannara Chopra and Angela Krislinzki “Everybody wants to watch glam,” he says. “Jokes apart, I write strong characters for the girls. They are not there only for the songs.”
But why does he keep casting foreign heroines? “I work with many foreigners,” he says. “I know so many girls from Canada, Russia and places like Brazil. There is also the other side, of girls who come here and take a room in Mumbai, trying their best to get a role in Indian films. Our Indian actors rarely venture out to try their luck in foreign languages, so I respect and appreciate the foreign actresses’ efforts.”
Not drawing comparisons, but what makes Puri different from director SS Rajamouli? “He always like to keep his film big,” says Puri, “But I like to keep it simple in terms of storyline, and I still manage to make my film larger than life. Secondly, I also lack the patience Rajamouli has, who works on a script for 4 years. I have a set method -- 15 days for writing the story and I complete the project in three months.”
Puri says that he wants to do bilingual films, in Kannada and Telugu, in future. “I also want to helm a project that has Hollywood and Indian actors,” he says.