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Shocker: Rohit Shetty's Simmba will have just one over-the-top action scene

The filmmaker, known for over-the-top action sequences, especially cars flying all over, says his Christmas week drama will not have those logic-defying stunts.

Mayur Lookhar

Masala entertainers do not get made by the score today, as they did in the 1980s and 1990s. Not all such films work today, but one man who can genuinely claim to have owned this space in the new millennium is Rohit Shetty.

Shetty makes films for a family audience. His films have strong mass appeal and they are escapist in nature.

Shetty’s next is an action drama, Simmba, a remake of the Telugu film Temper (2015) starring Junior NTR. Shetty has joined hands for the first time with Padmaavat (2018) star Ranveer Singh for this film.

While Simmba is an out-and-out commercial film, it will also be the first Rohit Shetty film to have a message. The filmmaker revealed this while speaking to noted film journalist Mayank Shekhar at the Jagran Film Summit, ahead of the Jagran Film Festival, in Mumbai today.

“Though Simmba is a remake, we have turned the script to something else," Shetty said. "I think we have put real serious thought to it and it has a message. Though it is presented as a commercial film, with Ranveer Singh and me coming together, I think this is the best written film of my career.”

The ‘message’ apart, fans can expect another big surprise with the film unlikely to have too much over-the-top action. Shetty has made a career out of logic-defying action sequences, particularly those in which cars go flying in crashes and blasts. But there will not be much of that on show in Simmba.

Action scene from Dilwale (2015). Image source: Cartoq.com

Given his penchant for such sequences, Shetty was asked whether he had had a destructive childhood. “If I shoot a Ferrari crossing three buildings, you would say it is over the top, but the same thing happens in The Fast And The Furious and you will praise that,” the director shot back.

But he also pointed out that he has cut down on such action. Golmaal Again (2017) barely had any sequences of this nature, for instance. “And you wouldn't see such scenes in Simbaa," he said. "There is only one jump [car flying]."

The director pointed out that he works hard on every film that he makes. "What’s written [in reviews] is like cars are blowing all over. It comes across as though the cars have been blowing for two and a half hours. Such sequences are only for three minutes. But the way it is written [in reviews], I have now stopped it,” he said.

While critics and more evolved audiences do not approve of such logic-defying action sequences, one cannot deny that the scenes are a big hit with the kids. As kids, many of us would jump up and down in glee the moment an action scene played out in a film. 

“Kids do that, yeah," Shetty said. "Unfortunately, once we grow up, we think a lot. We start getting mature and the child in us, he dies. I don't think that should happen.”

MB Shetty and Amitabh Bachchan in Ganga Ki Saugand (1978)

Remarkably, as a child, Shetty had a different outlook on over-the-top action, though he is the son of the late action director and actor MB Shetty.

“Mr [Amitabh] Bachchan was shooting for some film at Nataraj Studios," he recalled. "Though tall, he was a thin man. I knew most of the fighters. They were all like my uncles. They were all tall, huge guys, but Amitabh Bachchan was skinny.

"My father was 6 feet 4 inches tall. He was driving an SUV and I asked him isn’t this strange, watching a thin man beat up big, burly goons. Imagine, I was talking logic then! Isn’t it odd for 17-18 big men like you to be beaten up by this thin man? My father replied, 'Kyunki woh hero hai [Because he is the hero].' So I thought a hero can pull off anything.”

Speaking of never letting the child inside oneself die, Simmba's hero Ranveer Singh is one whose infectious energy is reminiscent of a child. Ranveer Singh is currently basking in his role as Bhalerao Simmba and Shetty was all praise for the actor.

“Ranveer Singh is playing his first commercial role," the director said. "The kind of sincerity he has, it is amazing. The best part is that I am happy I am presenting him as Ranveer Singh, he is not [Alauddin] Khilji. He is doing action, songs, and enjoying every bit of it.

"Whenever there is a dramatic scene with the hero, you can see that he is like a kid who comes up to you asking how it is to be done. He is hyperactive. I think he is simply living his dream.”

Simmba is scheduled to be released on 28 December this year.