Dev Adhikari, one of the biggest superstars of Bengal, will release one of the most ambitious films of the industry this Christmas called Amazon Obhijaan. It's the sequel to the 2013's hit film, Chander Pahar, which was also one of the highest grossing films of Bengali Cinema. If the first film had a deadly beast, there are many in the sequel which are out to make Shankar's new expedition to unearth gold really fatal. The film releases on December 22, which is also the day that Salman Khan will roar as a Tiger at the box office with Tiger Zinda Hai. We have the superstar of Bengal, Dev, telling us why he isn't fazed by the clash and why his sequel will be bigger than the original...
Promotions claimed that Amazon Obhijaan will break Baahubali's record. What was the strategy behind that?
It's a big film for all of us. It is the first Indian film to be shot in Amazon. It feels great to be in a film like that. See, it's a big thing to break Baahubali's record. Actually, the thing is we are doing something that was never done before. Ultimately, if we end up doing something bigger than what Baahubali did, what would be better...it's nothing to make anyone look small. If we manage to achieve something through this film, we will be happiest by the end of the day. Also, Baahubali 2 is an Indian film. It's no longer a regional film. It's a benchmark now.
Also read: Amazon Obhijaan trailer: Dev is back on an expedition but this time, it is deadlier than Chander Pahar -watch video
Was a sequel conceived just because Chander Pahar was a superhit?
Honestly speaking, four years ago, if you had asked me the same question, I wouldn't have known if a Part 2 would be possible. Chander Pahar is a difficult franchise. I have to fight with animals, so many factors involved. It was a do or die situation for me. I had promised myself that I will never do a film where I will encounter animals. But after the huge success of Chander Pahar, we thought there is no point in repeating the same thing because people will not come and watch it. Thanks to director Kamaleshwar and Shree Venkatesh Films, they changed the whole scenario. We shot the first one in South Africa and the second film in Amazon. There are only few films that were shot there. We met a local in Amazon who told us it is only the 8th film to be shot there.
If you see all the franchise in India or elsewhere, the success of part 1 which makes way for part 2. I am sure kids will be waiting for this film. These days, there are hardly films for children. Amazon Obhijaan is completely for kids but I am sure even parents will enjoy it.
Amazon forests are known to be wild. Any incident that happened to you which can be called as dangerous?
It's not wild, it's completely unsafe. I will tell you an incident. At night fall, we could see millions of mosquitoes charging towards us. I was finding it difficult to put my feet on the ground, literally. Underwater, it's even more unsafe. You don't know when you will be attacked by an anaconda or a crocodile. A small insect can take your life. (Laughs) In fact, we used to celebrate every night after the shoot that we have returned alive.
Chander Pahar was a big screen adaptation of Bibhutibhusha Bandopadhyay's novel by same name. The sequel doesn't have a reference point of same nature. What was more difficult to do?
That's more difficult because when the audience entered the hall to watch the first film, they were correcting it thinking, 'Oh I read that, is it there in the movie?' That becomes difficult for an actor. Here audience will come with a blank mind. Then they will see the film and say 'What a film'. But let me tell you, this script is much more… I don't want to belittle anyone. The first one written by Bibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyaya and I can't and won't make him look small. This film is equally thrilling, equally adventurous which I think will even trump part one. If you ask me about the story in part 1 or part 2, I would choose the latter as it has much more dangerous stunts which will wow the audience. If you talk about economics, when the audience watches it, they will be amazed as to how can a film of such scale be made at such a moderate budget. It looks like a Rs 100 crore film like Padmavati or Baahubali, which is more than Rs 300 crore!
Also read: We bet you didn't know that 6 films are clashing with Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif's Tiger Zinda Hai this Christmas
You have also started your own production house. Is it because you wanted to do your kind of films without any interference?
The kinds of films I am producing has never happened in Bengal before. I produced a film based on an incident in an aircraft, I am also producing stories based on real life topics like terrorism. As an actor, I have reached a certain level in this industry. So what's next for me? I want to try something that was not done by anyone in Bengal. The kind of subjects I want to do, nobody was coming onboard for that. People were trying to play safe.
I feel every superstar should be a producer, only then they will realise the fact, because if you don't get the returns, it's 'Thank you very much'. Then you understand the reality of life. (Laughs) We know how much we used to torture the producers. This is like an eye-opener. I am very happy with the films I am doing and the response I am getting.
Amazon Obhijaan is releasing alongside Salman Khan's Tiger Zinda Hai.
(Laughs) Bengal tigers are world famous and it's difficult to beat one! Jokes apart, with due respect to each film releasing on the same day, we look forward to the competition. We are confident that audience of all age groups will love the film!
In my next film Kabir, I am playing only a small role. Four actors are in the film from the theatre background. I want to give a break to so many young talent who don't get an opportunity. We have amazing talent on the theatre scene. There was a time when people thought heroes should be good looking, they should know how to dance. I am doing movies where it's all about the characters.
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