Director Atlee Sets Sights on ₹3,000 Crore Film Following 'Jawan' Success
Filmmaker Atlee, known for his work on "Jawan," expressed his ambitious goal on Thursday, revealing his aspiration to helm a film that grosses a staggering Rs 3,000 crore at the box office. His vision includes casting two mega superstars, Vijay and Shah Rukh Khan, in the same project. Atlee made his Hindi cinema debut with "Jawan," which also marked his initial collaboration with Shah Rukh Khan. Prior to this, he had a successful partnership with Vijay, directing Tamil blockbusters like "Theri," "Mersal," and "Bigil."
On the second day of the India Today Conclave here, Atlee was asked to choose between Shah Rukh and Vijay.
"I would pick both of them," he said in his response.
Asked if he had enough budget to afford both the stars, the filmmaker said he plans to make a film that does a business of Rs 3,000 crore to be able to do so. Released on September 7, "Jawan" has emerged as the highest-grossing Indian film of 2023 till date with over Rs 1,000 crore in reported earnings.
"I have to do Rs 3000 crore (for the) next film, so definitely, it (casting Shah Rukh and Vijay together) should be easy enough. I would like to pick both of them. "One is like a wife, one is like a mother. I can't leave either. I have to live with both," Atlee said during the session titled 'Mass appeal: Recipe for scripting a blockbuster'.
While the filmmaker credited Vijay for helping him cement his position in the film industry, he expressed gratitude towards Shah Rukh for trusting him blindly with "Jawan".
"He (Vijay) has given me back-to-back films. Of course, I've delivered hits to him, but he really trusted me. From there, a man who came with utmost trust... There are so many directors around the country.
"Anybody would have said yes if Mr Shah Rukh Khan called them to do a film. But he trusted me blindly. I don't know why he selected me. But that trust has made me do 'Jawan' with utmost responsibility and love," Atlee said.
"Jawan" is a father-son story that addresses social and political issues through its hero, essayed by Shah Rukh. The pan-India film, released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, also stars Nayanthara and Vijay Sethupathi with Deepika Padukone in a special appearance.
The 37-year-old filmmaker hopes his films stand the test of time.
"After 100 years also, this dialogue should connect the audience in the right way. If a coach teaches a student how to (do a) goal, it's not for the next match. It's for a lifetime. I give a message for a lifetime. My film should stand for 100 years," he said.
According to Atlee, "Jawan" has "cracked" the formula to bring audiences up north to the theatres.
"After COVID-19, the ecosystem suffered a lot. Of course, Rajamouli sir (with 'RRR'), Prashanth sir (with 'KGF: Chapter 2'), most of the directors have done their part.
"But I think in Hindi cinema, it was very difficult to bring the audience to theatres. I think 'Jawan' has cracked it. I'm super happy about it. That's my success more than the Rs 1,000 crore," he added.
The director said he is called 'South Indian Karan Johar' as he made his debut with the 2013 romantic comedy drama "Raja Rani". Filmmaker Karan Johar is best known for his romantic dramas such as "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai", "Student of the Year", and most recently "Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani".
"Because I started with love films, people call me 'South Indian Karan Johar'. Now, I'm doing action films and I love Karan sir. He really pushed me to do this Hindi film. I owe him, it's a great thing for me," Atlee said.