Sriram Raghavan On His Next Titled ‘Ikkis’: ‘It Is A Bigger Production With Human Story At Core’

New Delhi: Filmmaker Sriram Raghavan says his next film “Ikkis”, based on the life of the youngest Param Vir Chakra recipient Arun Khetarpal, is a coming-of-age drama mounted as a “big production”.

The war film, produced by Dinesh Vijan via Maddock Films, features “The Archies” actor Agastya Nanda and veteran star Dharmendra. It will go on floors next month.

Raghavan, who is receiving rave reviews for his latest movie “Merry Christmas”, said “Ikkis” won’t be a fantasy version of Khetarpal’s life story.

“It is not going to be the Amar Chitra Katha version of that story. It is not like this was his childhood and all that. It is about this young officer, who was martyred two months after his 21st birthday. It’s during this time when a boy becomes a man.

“Then something happens 30 years later, which is again interesting… It is a bigger production, there will be tank battles, and all those things that happen in a war film. But it is also a human story, it’s a drama, a coming-of-age kind of a thing,” the director told PTI in an interview here.

Raghavan, who previously worked with Dharmendra on 2007’s “Johnny Gaddaar”, said the veteran star has a “superb” role in “Ikkis”.

“It is wonderful. We have shot a bit of the film. He is playing Arun’s father. When Arun died at the age of 21, his father was 51 year old or so, and in the year 2000 his father was in his early 80s,” he added.

Nanda, son of columnist Shweta Bachchan Nanda and entrepreneur Nikhil Nanda, was the ideal choice to play Khetarpal. Previously, Raghavan’s “Badlapur” star Varun Dhawan was set to headline the film.

“We had signed the film before ‘The Archies’. We wanted a new, fresh boy. Arun Khetarpal was a good-looking boy, six-inch (tall) or something, and Agastya has got the height, look, everything.

“Right now, he is undergoing training. We will start with him in February. Initially, it had Varun Dhawan and then after the pandemic we had a chat about how he won’t suit (the part)” the director said.

Raghavan, who recently worked with Katrina Kaif and Vijay Sethupathi in “Merry Christmas”, said writing scripts with a big star in mind is tough.

Earlier, superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Sunny Deol expressed a desire to collaborate with him, but the filmmaker said he won’t approach either of them until he finds suitable material.

“Shah Rukh met a while ago and expressed his desire, but I don’t have a story for him yet. When Sunny Deol is back as a big star. He had then seen ‘Raman Raghav’, which is a documentary, and said, ‘Let’s do a film, write something for me’.

“But what I realised with a big star is that when I write something for them, it boils down to the same thing that they have done before. I feel there’s nothing new that I’ve written for them. So, I kept rejecting whatever I was writing,” he said.

Raghavan, 60, said he likes to take his time with his scripts.

“I take my time till I feel there’s a right script. I don’t like to approach anyone… After a couple of years, Sunny asked me, ‘Are you making some Hollywood film that you are taking so much time? I’ve been waiting for you to come back with a script for the last 20 years.’ Now, I meet him because I’m working with Dharam ji, I give him that look, ‘I’m coming to you’.

“So, I hope a film with Sunny and SRK also happens. It is not that I’m consciously working keeping the actor in mind. Sometimes, when the story comes up, you write the script and in between you get a sense that this guy will be wonderful. Then, we brainstorm,” he added.

The director also said he would like to reunite with his “Andhadhun” star Tabu and collaborate with Manoj Bajpayee.

“I’ve worked with so many good actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui in ‘Badlapur’. I haven’t worked with Manoj. Like, with Irrfan, whom I had known for a while, we kept discussing that we should do something together. He would be like, ‘Are you writing something for me?’ But it didn’t happen,” he said. 

(This report has been published as part of an auto-generated syndicate wire feed. Apart from the headline, no editing has been done in the copy by ABP Live.)