EXCLUSIVE: Prabhas, one of the biggest stars of Indian cinema, is back in action again this weekend in Salaar: Part 1 – Ceasefire. Already, the film is proving a hit with audiences at home and abroad, grossing an estimated 144 crore ($17.3M) worldwide on opening day.
From India’s Hombale Films, action epic Salaar: Part 1 sees a gang leader make a promise to a dying friend by taking on other criminal gangs. Written by director Prashanth Neel and produced by Vijay Kiragandur, the film also stars Prithviraj Sukumaran, Shruti Haasan and Jagapathi Babu.
After making history with S.S. Rajamouli’s Baahubali movies which were a watershed for Telugu films, Prabhas is teaming for the first time with Salaar: Part I filmmaker Neel who’s known for the hugely successful Kannada K.G.F. franchise. This marks a continuation of crossover for the regional industries.
Deadline recently spoke with Prabhas about Salaar and its sequel ahead, as well as what makes him tick, and the evolution of Indian cinema.
DEADLINE: How did you become involved with the Salaar films?
PRABHAS: I was drawn to the project due to its unique script and the opportunity to collaborate with a talented team. The narrative and character in Salaar intrigued me, and I saw it as a chance to explore something different in my career.
DEADLINE: What sets Salaar apart from other films you’ve done before?
PRABHAS: Salaar stands out due to its compelling storyline, intense characters, and the vision of director Prashanth Neel. The film offers a fresh and challenging role for me, and the overall cinematic experience promises to be unique and impactful.
DEADLINE: This is the first time you are working with Prashanth Neel; what was the process like with him?
PRABHAS: Collaborating with Prashanth Neel has been a rewarding experience. His clarity of vision and passion for storytelling have made the filmmaking process both enjoyable and enriching. The synergy between us has contributed to bringing the character and the narrative to life.
DEADLINE: What is the status of the sequel?
PRABHAS: There is a Part 2 and you will see the continuity part at the end of Part 1. Part 2 is going to be much bigger than Part 1. I am lucky to work with Prashanth Neel in both parts of the film.
DEADLINE: After the success of the Baahubali films, do you feel a need to top yourself with each subsequent project?
PRABHAS: While the success of Baahubali set a high standard, I approach each project with a commitment to delivering my best. Rather than aiming to top past successes, I focus on choosing diverse and challenging roles that allow me to grow as an actor.
DEADLINE: What is the current sentiment in India regarding the different regional industries? Many of my conversations with actors and filmmakers last year were about sort of erasing borders between the industries and talking more about Indian cinema rather than Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood etc…
PRABHAS: The sentiment in India seems to be shifting towards a more unified approach to cinema, transcending regional boundaries. There is a growing appreciation for diverse storytelling, and discussions about Indian cinema as a whole — rather than being limited to Bollywood, Tollywood or Kollywood — are becoming more common.
DEADLINE: How do you see audience tastes evolving within and outside of India?
PRABHAS: Indian audiences, both within the country and in the diaspora, are increasingly embracing diverse content. There is a demand for meaningful stories, fresh narratives and innovative filmmaking across genres. The evolving tastes indicate a broader appreciation for quality cinema.
DEADLINE: Who would be a dream collaborator for you in the future?
PRABHAS: Collaborating with directors like Rajamouli and Prashanth Neel has been fantastic. I am looking forward to working with filmmakers like Nag Ashwin (on Kalki 2898 AD) and Sandeep Vanga (on Spirit). It will be a great experience for the audience and myself.