'U Turn' climax will be different in the remake: Director Pawan Kumar to TNM
'U Turn' climax will be different in the remake: Director Pawan Kumar to TNM

'U Turn' climax will be different in the remake: Director Pawan Kumar to TNM

In this interview with TNM, the director talks about his upcoming bilingual and his thoughts on the changing face of cinema.

When the film Lucia released in Kannada, in 2013, it made heads turn across the country. This film, in fact, was the first crowdfunded feature film in Kannada. Lucia was a major success in Sandalwood and was later remade in Tamil as Enakkul Oruvan starring Siddharth and dubbed in Telugu as Naalo Okkadu.

Director Pawan who is in the eye of the changing face of Kannada cinema has chosen to foray into Tamil and Telugu industries with his U Turn. Remade from his Kannada original with the same name, U Turn with actor Samantha in the lead is eagerly awaited by his fans.

Lucia earned Pawan Kumar a Filmfare Award for Best Director – Kannada. However, he made his directorial debut with Lifeu Ishtene in 2011. Previously, he has worked on the script for films like Manasaare and Pancharangi. He has also appeared in films like Inthi Ninna Preethiya and Lifeu Ishtene. Further, Pawan has produced the critically acclaimed Kannada film Ondu Motteya Kathe directed by and starring Raj B Shetty.

So, does wearing many hats come naturally to him?

It is important as a director to have an idea of everything, says Pawan.

“The director knows what works and what wouldn’t, so it is natural to get yourself involved with the entire process. In addition to writing, screenplay and direction, I also take part in the editing process,” he says, adding, “I would, however, prefer to stay away from acting. The small cameos I’ve done so far were inevitable.”

As someone who has crowdfunded his film, Pawan has an insight on the increasing trend of crowdfunding indie projects. This is something that, he feels, might reduce the quality of films being made.

“It is a tricky situation. I had 12 to 15 years of experience in the field before making Lucia. Now, people with no experience have started making films by crowdfunding. A lot of it may be bad, half-baked content. I think micro-budget films cannot last long.”

But the changing face of cinema is unavoidable and the 2015 Kannada drama Thithi is proof enough. Pawan explains that this change is brought forth by the audience themselves. “Every once in a while people get collectively tired of what’s being offered and this warrants a change in what’s being made. We had a surge in indie films for a while and this was followed by commercial films. But I think south Indian films have a good balance in presenting both,” he says.

Pawan also shares that he follows Karthik Subbaraj’s films in Tamil. “His first film Pizza came around the same time Lucia did. It is encouraging that such a young director like him has been able to work with big names like Rajinikanth early on in his career.”

Pawan, who has experienced first hand the difference between audience preferences across states, shares that U Turn did not require much of an alteration. “It is a universal story. The Kannada film, in fact, is being globally watched on Netflix with subtitles. Therefore I did not have to change or modify anything majorly. However, we’ve made a few changes to the climax portion,” says Pawan, adding that the last half hour will be different from the original.

Bala, who co-directed this film with Pawan, has helped him with the dialogues.

“The cast, including Samantha and Rahul Ravindran, who know both the languages better, have helped to make sure the tonality sounds right,” he adds, with a chuckle.

Photo: Facebook/Pawan Kumar

Pawan also shares that with remakes, people should not only try and work with films that have already become hits.

“Films that have good content, irrespective of their box-office performance, have to be remade in other languages. Films need to be looked at from content point of view and not from business point of view,” says Pawan.

Pawan’s U Turn marks a significant milestone in actor Samantha’s career. Speaking at a press event, Pawan had shared that Samantha had immediately called him in 2016, just after watching its trailer. “The only reason for me to come back and do this film was that she had evaluated it based on content and not on its success, and for that I should thank her,” adds Pawan.

Samantha’s character is of paramount importance in U Turn and at the press meet, she had said that unlike other films where the female actor is required to dumb herself down to fit into the role, U Turn did not fall into that category.

What are Pawan’s thoughts on the quintessential silly heroine in Indian cinema? “I believe those films are being made for a certain kind of box-office. Fans are watching for the lead star. No one’s talking about the female character in it. It’s difficult to compare. However, I found that the recent Aruvi, was quite well done in Tamil,” says Pawan.

Talking about his female lead in U Turn, Pawan says, “When I wrote U Turn’s story I had a male lead in mind. But I decided there’s much more to a female character, more unexplored parts to a woman. Women are always more intuitive and deeper and I wanted to bring this out. I had not written this story to harp on feminist ideals. I treated this character like I would a male,” he finishes.

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