A host of journalists, a horde of bouncers and utterly tight security–you know the star who’s set to arrive is a phenomenon when you witness intense frenzy around his arrival. Prabhas Uppalapati started his career with a film called Easwar way back in 2002. He has since transformed into one of India’s biggest film stars. With the Baahubali series propelling him to international fame, Prabhas’ tale of stardom is one that all actors look for in Tinseltown. Now that he’s all set to make a comeback on the big screen after two long years, in the action flick Saaho, the actor’s been busy hopping to different cities for promotions.
The stress of the promotions and release is visible on his weary face, but that doesn’t stop him from being the down-to-earth and humble star that he is. “Saaho took two years to make. We shot it in seven to eight countries and different places–from Croatia to Abu Dhabi, and from Austria to Bombay. Since it’s an action film, we did a lot of training, but more than us, it was the crew and the director who had to plan out everything. We had Transformers action director Kenny Bates, who came down for the action sequences. We even had 40 people from Hollywood and the best riders of Transformers work on this film. All the stunts are real. The producers have spent ₹75 crores on the action–we had the world’s best technicians,” says Prabhas.
Since he had to thin down for Saaho, the actor reveals that he turned vegetarian for the film. “For Baahubali, I had to eat a lot of meat to gain muscle, but for this film, my diet was vegetarian,” says Prabhas, who also hints that his character may have a negative shade, much to the delight of everyone in the room at the press interaction.
While he may play an intense warrior or a smooth lover boy onscreen, he admits that even today, he’s a shy guy. “I just hang out with my friends–I’m not very social,” he smiles, as he takes on questions thrown at him. Someone from the press asks what everyone knew would be asked. “What is happening between him and his Baahubali co-star Anushka Shetty?” He instantly says, “Whatever I say, you people have already decided. Everywhere I go, anybody and everybody asks me the same question, I’m used to it now!”
Ask him how it was working with Shraddha Kapoor and he says, “She’s very passionate. We thought we’ll finish Saaho in a year, but since it was a big-budget film, it needed a lot of planning and it went on for more than one year. Even though she had other films, she gave her full support to Saaho. Sometimes, actors have to do that–I gave four years to Baahubali. As for speaking in Hindi, I already knew a bit of the language as I’m from Hyderabad where we speak Hindi and I can also read and write it as I learned it in school. But for the movie, I had to master the language and practice the dialogues.”
While he’s done back-to-back action films, Prabhas reveals that his next one is a love story, a pan-India flick that he’s already started shooting for. “My fans are worried about the gap between my films. We’ve already shot 20 days for the love story and it will release next year. It’s not an action flick but has a lot of visual action. I want to do films in different languages. I’ve done Mr. Perfect, Darling, etc, so I don’t mind doing smaller films too–for me, the story and script are the masters of the film,” says the actor, who’s now got used to the pandemonium of promotions. “I’m more comfortable with it now. During Baahubali, we went to so many places and it was really tough,” he adds.
While Saaho may not be releasing in Kannada, he hopes that his next film will be made in the language. “They’ve just started dubbing in Kannada,” he says. “I came here (to Bengaluru) long back–when I was just 16 with my friends who came to write the CET exam. I just came here for fun! Back then I felt like this city didn’t even belong in India–I felt like I was abroad–I was fascinated by the clothes, the bikes, and the coffee shops. I hadn’t seen anything like this in Hyderabad or in Chennai, where I was born. We stayed at a beautiful place with a lot of greenery. After our visit, we spoke about the city for like two to three years. Bengaluru is always beautiful,” he smiles.