Rajkumar Hirani on his cinematic ANAND and his dream to work with Shah Rukh Khan
Topping the current list of Bollywood’s incredible with his relentless ability to twine human issues with his fresh, funny, on screen sly incursions - be it medical, education or faith, filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani has unleashed another gutsy passion.
The maverick director with proven testimonials like MUNNABHAI, 3 IDIOTS and PK, smells the coffee as a producer with UTV and R. Madhavan in the upcoming sports drama SAALA KHADOOS.
Caught in the city’s iconic Mehboob studios with his co-producer and actor R. Madhavan and debutant Ritika Singh – a real time boxer, Hirani is busy chalking out minute distribution details.
After giving his brief, the producer, director and writer poses happily for the shutterbugs, enters his vanity van and speaks about the influence in his life as a filmmaker, reason for backing SAALA KHADOOS and his dream to work with superstar Shah Rukh Khan. Here are the excerpts
Why a gritty sports flick that defies your idiom of feel good messengers?
It’s basically a feel good film. The kind of films I make. I like inspiring stories. Look at any sports flick BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG, CHAK DE, MARY KOM all are inspiring stories. In fact, when SAALA KHADOOS came to me, MARY KOM was not even in the radar. I got fascinated by a story on a women boxer so got excited. But as luck could have it, MARY KOM came before, it happens with me, during PK - OH MY GOD happened and a movie on women boxer - MARY KOM is already there.
MARY KOM came in September 2014, since how long are you nestling with the idea of SAALA KHADOOS and why the delay
During the editing of PK..I remember. One night Maddy came to me and narrated the story. I liked it. He was so charged up and filed with enthusiasm that I couldn’t say no. He was ready to go at lengths and he did. Look at the way he has transformed physically. Both Maddy and director Sudha’s confidence motivated me. Due to certain creative reasons the delay happened, but I am happy.
"When SAALA KHADOOS came to me, MARY KOM was not even in the radar"
An ideal setting for you - inspiring story, dedicated co –producer, how did you overpower the temptation as a director from wielding the megaphone for SAALA KHADOOS?
The story is written by Sudha and she wanted to direct it. I cannot pull it from her by saying that it’s a good inspiring story so let me direct it. I have directed stories which I have written. It’s her baby and I am supporting it as a co – producer.
Has the movie benefited from your creative inputs as well?
Yes, I had collaborated. I never went on sets that could have made Sudha conscious and put pressure on her. I gave inputs on scripting, editing, sound designing keeping in mind her vision. The final call however rested on Sudha.
Your movie titles are always out-of-box, different and catchy why?
It’s a creative intrigue, an attempt to grab maximum eyeballs/attention. Like 3 IDIOTS, PK. Here SAALA KHADOOS is used in a positive manner. It’s a story of a mentor who inspires you, motivates you and also pushes you to the limits that you get so annoyed with him and feel like saala khadoos hai meri jaan le raha hai
|RAJKUMAR HIRANI AND SHAH RUKH KHAN|
You also brought UTV into the project?
Yeah. I needed a good studio to distribute the film. I cannot distribute the film myself and have had good work experience with UTV during PK. Nowadays you need a studio to back your project.
Since now you are a producer also. You can analyze the potential in good stories like SAALA KHADOOS and get a corporate like UTV at will. When will we see your unfulfilled dream of working with SRK turning into a reality?
I am a big fan of Shah Rukh Khan. Approached him twice – first time for MUNNABHAI and second time for 3 IDIOTS.. Things didn’t work out at that time. Hope one fine day my dream will come true. Will love to work with SRK.
"I am a big fan of Shah Rukh Khan, will love to work with him one day. "
So MUNNABHAI 4 with SRK..?
No way. Like Amjad Khan as Gabbar, it is impossible to imagine MUNNABHAI without Sanjay Dutt.
You have set your own pedestal, inspired new generation of filmmakers; tell us about your first inspiration?
Hrishikesh Mukherjee's ANAND. I think I was in primary when I watched it. It just caught my attention. ANAND inspired me to make films.
Wishing the ‘Anand’ of inspiring and feel good cinema continues with SAALA KADOOS!