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Actor Launches Action Hero Movies to Produce – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: The rise of Vidyut Jammwal has been remarkably rapid. He only made his screen debut in 2011, taking on additional roles or widely glorified stunt performers in films as he sought his break. “I wasn’t the bad guy, I was the guy next to the bad guy,” as he puts it. Flash forward ten years and the Jammwal star rose through roles in films including the Commando series and Junglee to make him one of the most beloved action stars in Indian biz.

So it seems only natural that Jammwal’s first move into production saw him launch a company called “Action Hero Films”. However, his intentions behind the camera are less to consolidate himself as a preeminent name in Indian action cinema, and instead he focuses on producing a wide range of diverse and impactful films, and not necessarily in the genre in which you expect. In fact, during a first exclusive discussion with Deadline since deciding to make this movie, he reveals that he doesn’t really like watching action movies.

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Below, Jammwal tells us about his ambitions for his new production company, the challenges India has faced recently due to the pandemic, and what the word ‘action’ really means to him.

DEADLINE: How is the pandemic situation in Mumbai at the moment?

VIDYUT JAMMWAL: The entire town is now under lock and key. I just hope after that we are all in a very happy place. It’s not easy to have people sitting at home here, we don’t produce a child, there’s usually four or five or us, it’s not easy to be all stuck in a house.

DEADLINE: You go into production with the founding of your new company Action Hero Films – tell us about that.

JAMMWAL: This trip was not planned. I come from a military background, for me it is [acting] was just a dream. I never believed I could be who I am today. I just wanted to do the action, no matter if I was becoming a stuntman, as long as I was in the frame doing the action. I have never been so ambitious. I knew that no matter how big I was in my role, I would be so good that no one could ignore me.

I started out with very small roles in the film industry. I wasn’t the bad guy, I was the guy next to the bad guy, or the henchman [laughs]. The only person who could see me on the screen was me or my mom. But we could also celebrate this. What a traveling man, glad I can now have this conversation [about moving into producing].

DEADLINE: How did you learn your martial arts skills?

JAMMWAL: I come from a family in South India where we practiced martial arts. I started playing with swords and sticks at the age of three, they were just toys for me. No one told me not to try them, no one put the fear in my head of hurting me. I never learned that, I just played and enjoyed it.

DEADLINE: You are now established as a successful actor – what is the motivation behind wanting to produce too?

JAMMWAL: It is a step that you must take. When I started I didn’t have a plan, I still don’t have one, I just think whatever I can do, I’ll do my best. The idea is to make content that I’ve always loved to watch, but not necessarily action movies. I don’t really like watching action movies, I love doing them, but I tend to watch a romantic movie, or a drama, or something feminine. Now I feel in a place where I can choose what I would like my audience to watch, what I would like the nation to watch.

Vidyut Jammwal in ‘Commando 2’
@VidyutJammwal on Twitter

Whenever I meet someone who has no idea about the Indian film industry, the way I am presented is not ‘it’s Vidyut’, they say, ‘he’s the hero of India action ”. It is a matter of pride for me, that I am presented in this way. I was recently in China and received the award for best action sequence choreographer by Jackie Chan (for Junglee).

DEADLINE: Very cool.

JAMMWAL: Yes. And I loved that they introduced me as “the action hero of India”. I’m very proud of it, I think it’s bigger than my name. That’s why I called my business like that. It’s easier than remembering “Vidyut Jammwal Films”.

DEADLINE: Was it about having a creative influence in the projects that you will do in the future?

JAMMWAL: I love that people are inspired by what I do. I want to make a foray into the genres that define the future of cinema. When I started in 2013, when I did Commando, we started a whole new kind of cinema in the country – there were no liners, no cables, it was all me. I realized that we can start new things from our country and make it famous all over the world. The content I want to do is cutting edge, I want it to be diverse, accessible.

DEADLINE: International content seems to travel more than ever … do you want your films to appeal not only to local audiences, but also abroad?

JAMMWAL: Now, I don’t think there is such a thing as local, the universe has become one. It always has been, but we are realizing it now. Everything we do will be for anyone who wants to watch it, who it resonates with.

I recently walked talking to my team about what we are going to produce. I was very intrigued by the content revolving around women – we have a lot of interesting stories about women in India. I have a friend in her late twenties who has gone through all the rigors of the men she has to meet because she is going to get married. It’s so interesting, I think the world should know that, they should look at what these women are going through. I sanctioned this story [to be made for film] because I want to explain the journey of this woman.

Another topic is poaching. It is happening all over the world. Jackie Chan’s award was for a film I made about elephant poaching [Junglee]. I felt very proud that we made a film with animals. I want to produce things that the world really needs to see, that they can watch, and that they can learn from.

DEADLINE: Do you want to work with OTT platforms? How about in series?

JAMMWAL: There are stories that just can’t be told in an hour and a half or two hours. There are some that are really time consuming, OTTs are great platforms, I like that everyone can just log in and watch. I don’t differentiate between cinema and OTT, the content will reach people.

I love to work. This is what “action” means, it doesn’t just mean going out and kicking the butt, it means you have a thought, it has to be put into action, and then it becomes your reality, becoming your destiny. The idea of ​​”action” is too limited in our heads.

DEADLINE: You have acted in a wide range of films in different languages [Tamil, Telugu, Hindi], do you want to continue doing this with your production?

JAMMWAL: Yes of course. I love all cultures and I do not differentiate myself. If I have time, I will. If I can’t act, I will produce. My journey has been interesting. The Hindi industry is not so easy to enter. You have to have something in you, a talent that people recognize. Our nation is very talented. I want to make sure that anyone and everyone who is talented gets a job. This is how I got lucky. If I see talent in any form, I’ll give them a break.

DEADLINE: So you won’t necessarily act in all the films you produce?

JAMMWAL: Of course. I have already started working on proposals and sanctioning film scripts. I have female oriented scripts that I love. I’m also working on something on women’s self-defense. I travel to different parts of the country and teach self defense to women, I realized that it is not just about physical strength or learning the movements that can protect you. There are different things that women have that men don’t.

I met 50 rape victims and explained to them how they got out of their situation. These are interesting and inspiring stories. Stories like this inspire me and can inspire a lot of people. I want to teach without teaching, inspire without trying to inspire.

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