Abhishek Sharma: Parmanu was a story that needed to be told

parmanu team

Parmanu is one of 2018’s sleeper hits. The John Abraham starrer was based on India’s 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests.


Parmanu is one of 2018’s sleeper hits. The John Abraham and Diana Penty starrer is a historical drama based on India’s 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests. The Abhishek Sharma directorial released on May 25, and had its world television premiere on Wednesday. On the sidelines of the TV premiere, Abhishek spoke to indianexpress.com about what goes into making a successful patriotic film in today’s time.

Here are excerpts from the interview.

Did you expect Parmanu will receive this kind of success?

I am quite relieved that the film was released, and that people actually liked it. And now I am excited about the television premiere as I understand the power of television. Our film will now be received by a majority of people, it’ll be in every household, in every town in the country and all over the world. TV viewers are much more than cinema-goers.

After directing hit comedies, you made Parmanu which was out of your comfort zone. Why?

There was a story that needed to be told. I believe in ‘Natyashashtra’ and how there are 9 ‘rasas’. Comedy is the ‘haasya’ rasa and Parmanu falls in the ‘veer rasa’ category in a way. I don’t want to limit myself to a particular genre. My work is of a storyteller and I love telling different kinds of stories. So, the thought process was simple. This was the story I was excited to tell and John (Abraham) gave me the opportunity and I had to tell it in the best way possible.

I have always said that humour is, in a way, my second language and it automatically comes into my narrative, of any nature. But I should not make it my only language. The best thing artistes can do to themselves is to be versatile. Parmanu for me was a big step. It was a game changer as far as I am concerned.

You made Parmanu as a dramatised version of the Pokhran test. Do you think it takes away from the actual event?

For me, Parmanu is a plot-driven story. It is not about one person or a few people, it is about the nation. The Pokhran tests were a massive thing. Years of hard work went into the tests, for around 25-30 years. People on the mission changed, but the mission remained. Hence, the film is on this mission and it was important that the focus remains on that, and doesn’t become a glorification of a certain people. However, the people from the mission who are there in everybody’s minds like APJ Abdul Kalaam and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, we have given them due credit. And, we have also given credit to Dr. Chidambaram and Dr. Kakodkar. But that was not the focus of the film. The focus was on the country standing up for itself, after years of hard work we reached glory. If we glorify only the known faces, we take away the hard work put in by other unknown faces. It was a massive operation, hundreds of people were involved in it.

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