Mohit Ahlawat to star in another Ram Gopal Varma film
If you thought Ram Gopal Varma was kidding when he said he believes his latest discovery is true star material, then think again. In spite of the disappointing response to Mohit Ahlawat's debut James, Varma is going ahead with another film featuring his blue-eyed boy.
Meant as a quickie to reaffirm his faith in his discovery, Shankar will be launched next month for a start-to-finish shooting schedule. It will again feature Mohit in an action-packed avatar. James cinematographer Amal Neerad will direct it.
"This time it won't be comic-book action like James," reveals Varma.
"A lot of my well-wishers think James went wrong because it featured Mohit in a larger-than-life role. With due respects to their opinion, they've made bigger fiascos out of much-hyped films. James is certainly not a washout. It has gone extremely well in the south, particularly Hyderabad and Chennai where it's a super hit, and in the north belt. Even in Mumbai it did well in the single theatres."
He stoutly defends Mohit. "For any newcomer, the success or failure of the debut film hardly makes a difference. The box office performance of James hardly makes a difference to Mohit's calibre. A lot of people didn't like the climax in James. No one knows what works and what doesn't." Trade experts have designated James as Ramu's biggest flop.
"That isn't true," he asserts. "More than 300 prints were released. This was unheard of for a newcomer. We over-sold the film in terms of number of prints. You'd be surprised to know that distributors have already come forward to buy Shankar, and for a better price than James."
Mohit seems unusually upbeat. "I haven't let all the negative talk about my first film affect me. Most people have appreciated my work. As far as I'm concerned that's what matters. I'm glad Ramuji is going to start Shankar (it might be titled Shiv) so soon after James. I need to have a second release quickly. We'll wrap up this film by January."
Mohit already has two other Varma projects - King (where he plays a double role) and of course Sholay.