INTERVIEW

‘Guardians’ director Sarik Andreasyan: ‘It’s like Hollywood with Russian humour’

The Armenian director’s movie – a Russian reply to ‘The Avengers’ – is being released in India in multiple languages on February 24.

Armenian filmmaker Sarik Andreasyan’s superhero-themed film Guardians – The Superheroes is the second Russian film to be released in India under a new cultural trade pact between the two countries. The first film was The Crew, which was released in January. Dubbed versions of Russian films have been released in India in the past.

Guardians is set during the Cold War, and is Russia’s answer to The Avengers. A team of four superheroes are created in a secret laboratory to avert a nuclear disaster. Russian actors Alina Lanina, Sebastien Sisak, Sanzhar Madiyev and Anton Pampushnyy push the limits of action and adventure in the big-budget feature, which will released in Russia and 50 other countries on February 23 and in India a day later.

Guardians has been dubbed in Hindi, English, Tamil and Telugu for Indian audiences. In a telephone interview with Scroll.in, Andreasyan spoke about taking on Hollywood even while engaging with the country’s all-powerful movie industry, and names his favourite Hindi film.

How did the story of ‘Guardians’ take shape?
I am a huge fan of Marvel and DC comics and watch a lot of superhero films, but a lot of them feel and look the same. I watch a lot of Hollywood films too. What I wanted to do was to borrow the structure of classic Hollywood films about heroes and add elements of Russian humour and drama to specifically suit Russian audiences. Since we are making the film on such a large scale and showing it across the world, its appeal is universal. The language might be different, but the idea of a superhero film is something everyone understands and can relate to.

What were the challenges in scripting the film?
The story is not so much about comics as it is about the mentality of the people. It is reflective of the Cold War. Each of the four guardians represents one of the republics of the Soviet Union – Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Armenia. The superheroes possess superpowers that are unique to the regions. We took about two years to work on the project because we wanted to make it big and unique. It was a long process, but well worth the effort.

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Guardians - The Superheroes (2017).

What makes the superheroes human?
What makes superheroes human is simple desires, such as love and friendship. In our film, the superheroes have these qualities just as they have superpowers, and I think it’s these simple desires that make them even more powerful. Anyone in the audience will relate to the superheroes because we all share the same feelings.

Is the film being released simultaneously in 50 countries?
Yes, it is the first time a Russian film is going to be released on such a large scale internationally. It’s not the first Russian film to get an international release, but on this level, it’s certainly the first in league with Hollywood films. It makes us extremely proud that we have been able to give our film such massive exposure across the world.

Indian films have been popular in Russia since the 1950s. Have you seen any?
Bollywood films are extremely popular here. What comes to my mind is Awara, which is one of my favourites. It was shown everywhere and I watched it multiple times when I was growing up. Indian actors are now in Hollywood and the new films do well internationally. Indian films have a special place in the hearts of the Russian people.

In 2014, you worked on your first Hollywood film, ‘American Heist’. What was the experience of working with an American crew?
It was a good experience, and I am working on another project soon. I cannot reveal the details right now. Regardless of where I work, I try to do my best and be professional, so only the set-up changes. My hard work and dedication remain the same.

Sarik Andreasyan.
Sarik Andreasyan.
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