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'Kalki 2898 AD' is roaring everywhere: Producer Ashwini Dutt


"The budget of 'Kalki 2898 AD' is not Rs 600 Cr. It is higher. I will make the balance sheet public in a few days," says producer C Ashwini Dutt with a smile. He says that the film grossed nearly Rs 300 Cr in the first two days. "The buzz is going to be constant for the next ten days," the Vyjayanthi Movies supremo says with a glint in his eyes. The producer, in his latest interview, talks about the reception to Prabhas' movie.

After the success of 'Mahanati', my confidence in Nag Ashwin's ability to mount big-budget movies grew by leaps and bounds. For his next project, I was willing to go to any lengths regardless of the budget. I told my daughters (Swapna Dutt, Priyanka Dutt) to provide him with whatever reasons he needed for his project. I have been a producer for more than five decades. I have always worked hard to provide my directors with the resources they needed. Whatever it takes for production to be smooth has been provided.

I am quite happy with the reception 'Kalki 2898 AD' is amassing. The feedback from across languages has been unanimously positive. Hats off to Nag Ashwin! Although the number of characters is high in number, I didn't find the narration confusing at all.

Amitabh garu touching my feet at the Mumbai event of our film was a bolt from the blue. Given that I hold him in high esteem, I was embarrassed. Earlier, we had only greeted each other with folded hands.

We approached Singeetham Srinivas Rao garu (of 'Aditya 369' fame) before starting the shoot. He gave us some suggestions.

We never had any artist in mind for Lord Krishna's role. That's why you see a silhouette and not the actual face of the artist (Krishnakumar) in the movie. Vijay Deverakonda and other artists for different roles were the first choices. But Kamal Haasan was not the first choice for Supreme Yaskin. As for the futuristic vehicle Bujji, it was entirely Ashwin's conception. Everyone of us found it fascinating. Bujji is regarded as the female lead (laughs).

Right from day one, I was sure that the story of 'Kalki' was extraordinary and exceptional. It was also decided at the outset that the span of the story justified two parts. The entry of Kamal Haasan further cemented 'Kalki' as a two-part edition.

The shoot of the second part has been completed to an extent. The shoot of the pending portions and the VFX part might take more than one year. While nothing has been firmed up as to the release date of 'Kalki 2', it might release in 2025 around this time. As for 'Kalki 3', nothing has been thought of so far.

We are relishing the success of 'Kalki'. During the shoot, finance was never an issue despite the budget exceeding Rs 600 Cr. The star power is what gave us the confidence to invest so much money. The director was successful in executing his script perfectly. The response from the industry people has been overwhelming.

I am yet to watch the movie. For the past ten days, my eyes have needed rest because I am recovering from a health issue.

Vyjayanthi Movies and Swapna Cinema will be doing two other films this year apart from 'Kalki 2'. The first of these will feature Roshan Meka (Srikanth's son) as the hero ('Champion' is its rumoured title). The second one will feature Dulquer Salmaan as the hero.

It is true that I, as a producer, have taken on many risky projects in my career. The stakes were high for many of my movies in the past. In the case of 'Kalki', I was particular about ensuring a Summer release. It had to be postponed.

'Sakthi' proved to be costly. It had divine elements. Even though 'Kalki', too, has divine elements, I had no apprehensions. Nag Ashwin's narration was so convincing that I entertained no doubts! I didn't bother about the returns either. I didn't put restrictions on the budget. From where did I source the huge budget amount? Everything has a calculation. My elder daughter used to keep me updated with the finances that were needed. Out of the total budget, I invested Rs 300-350 Cr from my existing resources. The rest was pooled from external sources.

The Vyjayanthi Movies logo has NT Rama Rao garu's image prominently. No hero who has worked under our banner has ever had a problem with it. We have no plans to start a studio in Vizag. There is also no truth in the rumour that I have been offered an important position by the AP government.

Updated on June 29, 2024