Directed by Radha Krishna Kumar, Radhe Shyam is essentially a love story revolving around a mysterious palmist and is set in Europe during the 1970s. It is shot extensively in Italy.

Prabhas’ much-awaited film Radhe Shyam is finally hitting the theatres. Directed by Radha Krishna Kumar, the film is essentially a love story revolving around a mysterious palmist and is set in Europe during the 1970s. It is shot extensively in Italy. Prabhas is grateful to the support extended by the Italian government which allowed them to shoot the film at the height of the pandemic. “For Radhe Shyam, we had to create 1970s Italy. So, the idea was to shoot everything in Italy and mostly Rome. So we started in Rome with as part of a small schedule that was planned. We had to stop in the middle in order to complete Saaho as a lot of action sequences were still pending. When we returned to Italy for our next schedule, Covid started but the Italian government supported us a lot otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to do it,” reveals Prabhas who is chuffed that the film is finally releasing.
The Italian Embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission Pietro Sferra Carini is grateful to all those who made the project possible despite the great uncertainty created by the pandemic. He also presented Prabhas with the national flag of Italy as a token of his appreciation to the Baahubali actor in Delhi. “I am aware that all the shooting was done in a very safe environment as everyone involved was very respectful of the need to contain the spread of the disease. I am grateful to Prabhas and his entire team. I would also like to thank Ivano Fucci and the producing team from Italy because they were the persons engaged in making that happen. It was a multi-year project that was affected by the pandemic. Also, I would like to thank all the people in Italy who made it possible, notwithstanding what was going on in Italy in terms of restrictions. I am also grateful to my own colleagues here in India of the Italian diplomatic and consular network for their help with the visas,” explains Carini while describing it as a “total team effort”.
ENIT Italia, known in English as The Italian Government Tourist Board, played a pivotal role in bringing the project together. Abhijeet Dalvi, Manager, ENIT explains, “Our task is to bring it all together. If the makers want to shoot in Italy it is our job to get them in touch with the right people. So we connect the people and we also help them with their day to day requirements. For Radhe Shyam since we were behind schedule we had to take special permissions and shoot in the middle of the pandemic. I feel the perseverance of the Italians and the Indians really made it happen. A lot of the times we took advantage of the pandemic as we got to shoot in places with almost no crowd. And some of these places are known to be very busy.”
The cast and the crew of Radhe Shyam had to face a lot of hardships during the course of the shoot. Prabhas credits the Italian authorities for ensuring the completion of the shoot despite insurmountable odds. “When we went first day both our director and our cameraman got Covid. The situation was really bad. I remember the director was directing us using an iPad while he was in quarantine. We had to replace our cameraman with an Italian cameraman to ensure that we completed the schedule. Whenever the cases were rising locally we had to shift to another place. At one place we had tryouts. It was just 5 minute away from the hotel. But next day the shooting was about to get cancelled but the government supported us and gave us full security which allowed us to complete the shoot. We should thank them a lot. If the Italian government had not backed us so wholeheartedly, we would have perhaps struggled to finish Radhe Shyam even today,” recollects Prabhas. Prabhas who plays a palmist in the film had a lot of support from the director Radha Krishna Kumar, which allowed him to get a better understanding of his character. “As part of my preparation for the part, I learnt some basics about the various lines on the palm. I also talked to some experts. Radha has a lot of experience with palmists that I don’t have. So, he told me lot of stories about how the palmists work, how they look, how they see, etc,” reveals Prabhas. Ever since the film’s trailer was released there has been a lot of buzz around the pairing of Prabhas and Pooja Hegde. “Well, it’s very important for a love story that the chemistry should work. A lot of the credit of course goes to the director’s vision, the cinematographer, choregraphers, and the art department. I feel the music is very important along with the visuals to get the chemistry right. And I think the real magic comes from the story and the treatment that the director chooses to give to the screenplay,” opines Prabhas
The amount of time that Prabhas spent in Italy of late has allowed him to get a better understanding of the Italian culture and the people. “I must say that I like Italy a lot; the people there are so sweet and the authorities are very supportive. Also, I believe there are a lot of common qualities between Italians and Indians. We like to party a lot and so do they. We like to talk loud and so do they. They love food like us. So, you see, there are many things that bond us. I remember I was in Italy for a holiday and I had gone for a football match during the Euro Cup where I was cheering for the Italian team,” recounts Prabhas who is currently doing Salaar with Shruti Haasan and Project K with Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone. Also, he has finished shooting for Om Raut’s Adipurush, which is slated to release on January 12, 2023.
A film of such a big scale with Prahbas in the lead will certainly inspire more Indian filmmakers to shoot in Italy which offers a wide variety of scenic locations. “For those who want to shoot in Italy, the most correct way to initiate is to have contacts in Italy. And this is something that Embassy in Delhi as well as the Consulate Generals in Mumbai and Kolkata can facilitate. We are opening very soon in Bengaluru. So once the contacts are established the most important thing is having Italian partners. There are field commissions in all Italian regions that are eager to cooperate and I must tell you that Italy offers amazing landscapes. And Radhe Shyam is the just right example. The film is shot across different parts of Italy such as Rome, Turin, Florence, etc. You will see the mountains, shorelines, and the architecture,” says Carini.
According to the Deputy Head of Mission Pietro Sferra Carini, Italy is committed to working closely with Indian filmmakers. “Last year Italy celebrated the festival of Italian culture in India and India celebrated the festival of Indian culture in Italy. And this triggered several dialogues on various issues and one of them is cinema. We upgraded the agreement of co-production a few months ago so that our companies, operators, producers, actors and all the people involved in the process can also have a legal framework within which to work. I am sure with the pandemic subsiding we will be able to see more of those examples of such co-operation,” sums up Carini.