Ram Gopal Varma is set to go ahead with a sequel to his just-released spooky thriller Agyaat that has garnered mixed reviews. The director says in part two the story will shift from the jungles to the city.
"I'd have been seriously worried if the reviews had been favourable. The critics were just as harsh on my previous horror film Phoonk. It made enough profits to keep everyone happy."
Agyaat, says Varma, was made at a budget of Rs5 crore. "The sequel would be marginally costlier to make. But again it would feature no major stars. The jungle will again be the star of the film," said the director.
And the plot?
"At the end of Agyaat my lead pair, Nitin Reddy and Priyanka Kothari, come out of the killer jungle. Agyaat 2 will begin with the pair telling the police what happened. Nitin accompanies the cops into the jungle and shows them how brutally the other members of his team were murdered. Now when he returns to the city, the creature follows him."
Part of the sequel to Agyaat will take Varma back to the Sigiriya jungles in Sri Lanka.
"In Agyaat, the challenge was to not show the murderous creature and still create panic and horror, as in The Blair Witch Project or John Carpenter's The Thing. I think the power of cinema lies in the power of the imagination. I've used the jungle as a sub text for the entity."
Critics have complained about the insubstantiality of the terror and horror in Agyaat. But according to Varma, that is its USP. "The challenge was to create horror from nothing. Ridley Scott once said that if you try to explain a supernatural experience, you lose the thrill of it."
This would be Varma's second sequel after Sarkar Raj which followed Sarkar.
"I like to leave my options. Most of my films are open-ended. I like to carry the story forward. I thought, I'd make a sequel to Phoonk. But now I've decided to do a sequel to Agyaat instead. As for the sequel not being received properly, I don't think that matters," said the director.
Telugu star Nitin, who plays the lead in Agyaat is very excited about the sequel. Apparently he has been instructed to get into Rambo-like physical shape for Agyaat 2.
"I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel. It'd be a treat working with Ramu again. It was tough shooting in Sigiriya jungles. We had a couple of injuries. Let's see what happens this time," said Nitin.