Prithviraj: Jana Gana Mana was conceived as a two-parter
The actor-producer, director Dijo Jose Antony and writer Sharis Mohammed were speaking at a promotional event for the film
Prithviraj Sukumaran is busy with the promotional activities of his latest film Jana Gana Mana, directed by Dijo Jose Antony and written by Sharis Mohammed. During a post-trailer release event, the actor, who backs the film under the Prithviraj Productions banner, called it the "biggest film" from his company stable. But he clarified that "big" is not an implication of the film's canvas or budget but that of the "big topic" it discusses. "It's a film that makes one ask a lot of questions, but it's also an out-and-out commercial entertainer," he added. "As a producer, I'm proud to have backed a film of this magnitude, but more than that, I'm happy to have acted in it."
Speaking of the release plan, the actor recalled the team taking a collective decision to bring out Jana Gana Mana in theatres no matter how many films had been sent to OTT platforms before. "We went through lots of obstacles and challenges due to the pandemic. The shoot only got over in Jan 2022 because of the pandemic-induced delays. When we started shooting the film in October 2020, it was the time when all the theatres were closed. But we had decided then that no matter how long we had to wait, we would release Jana Gana Mana in theatres only."
The event's biggest highlight was Prithviraj revealing that Jana Gana Mana would have a sequel. "When I first heard the story and screenplay of this film, I knew that it was written in a way that warrants a follow-up film. At the time, I asked Dijo and Sharis whether the sequel idea was part of the ongoing trend where it's customary to do a Part-2 for a big film, to which they responded that the opposite was true. I found their answer convincing, their plan interesting. We already shot the scenes of the second part separately on another set, the hints of which appear in the first part. So don't expect the major scenes in the teaser (released on January 26) and the trailer to show up in the first part. Those are for the second part. However, those flashbacks portions in the trailer are part of the first film. This is the first time I'm listening to a unique marketing design like this. It is completely Dijo and Sharis' idea. The layers of my character are revealed only gradually. It's only when part 1 ends that you realise that there is more to this man's story."
Prithviraj also called Jana Gana Mana a "pan-Indian" film in the sense that it can connect with people from anywhere in India, instead of using the term for a "giant film from one particular industry with a superstar of that industry". "As far as I'm concerned, a pan-Indian film is one with pan-Indian content. If someone from Gurgaon or Orissa is watching this film, they should be able to recognise the story as something that happens around them. It's not bound by a particular place. It takes place in a fictional setting. It can happen anywhere at any time," he elaborated.
Adding to Prithviraj's words, director Dijo Jose Antony stated that Jana Gana Mana took one-and-a-half years to complete because they wanted to ensure that not even one frame lacked in quality while shooting under pandemic-induced restrictions. He also thanked Prithviraj for being thoroughly committed throughout the production. Taking one particular instance of the actor's professionalism, Dijo shared that the blast sequence in the trailer was done for real. "It was a challenging single-shot sequence. And when the explosion happened behind him, the entire crew was tensed," said the filmmaker, who made his debut with Queen (2018).
Calling it a "huge project", screenwriter Sharis Mohammed said Jana Gana Mana would appeal to people of other states too. "This is our promise," he concluded.
Jana Gana Mana hits theatres on April 28