In Ahsaas Channa, Ram Gopal has found his own Linda Blair. Remember the child protegee playing the Satan- possessed traumatized girl in The Exorcist? Ahsaas the female child actor, who was unintentionally caught in a controversy when she was found to be playing a male child in Karan Johar's Kabhie Alvida Naa Kehna without anyone being aware of her real gender, will do the possessed act in Phoonk 2 and the spin-offs that the enterprising Varma has planned for the Phoonk franchise.
Ahsaas seems to have sorted out the gender confusion regarding her screen persona. She plays the possessed girl in Phoonk 2 with such deep understanding of trauma that Varma calls her his leading lady.
Says Varma, "As far as I'm concerned Ahsaas is the heroine and the crow is the hero of Phoonk 2. Yes. She had played a male child in my earlier horror film Vastu Shastra. I didn't know she was a girl then and it's none of my business if she's a girl or a boy. All I'm concerned with is she's the best actress I've worked with."
Ramu plans a series of Phoonk movies as Ahsaas grows older.
Ram Gopal Varma never fights shy of courting controversy. So now with a new release around the corner it is no surprise to hear him putting the 'hero' of his film on a par with Shahid Kapoor who stars in Paathshaala, the other release this Friday.
Says Ramu, "The hero of my film is undoubtedly the crow. It clicked so big in the first Phoonk that we expected major tantrums from it in the second film. But the crow was surprisingly well-behaved. We later got to know that the superstar-crow's sixth sense had told him he was up against a formidable opponent. So I've to thank Shahid for our hero behaving himself."
Ramu is hopeful his hero would be liked better. "I've a feeling audiences will find the crow more appealing than Shahid." The next Phoonk movie will depend entirely on the script.
Informs Ramu, "When I made Bhoot with so many established stars I realized somewhere that the known names took away from the terror factor. The trick in horror films is to cast relatively unknown face so that the audience becomes one with the characters' fears." About being called gimmicky for promising prize money to anyone who can watch Phoonk 2 alone in the theatre Ramu smirks. "Those who think I'm gimmicky better take a close look at the horror genre. It's by its very nature gimmicky. When I said I'd give money to a man watching the film only if the ECG machine shows his heartbeat to be normal I was told that was impossible. Which is a fine by me. I don't want anyone to win!"