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A filmmaker should not sell his soul just to entertain: Rajkumar Hirani

In an exclusive interview with Nation Next, Rajkumar Hirani spoke about his films, his role as a producer and the bond he shares with writer Abhijat Joshi.
Rajkumar Hirani (Photo by: Kartik Thakur)

With films like Munna Bhai M.B.B.S., Lage Raho Munnabhai, 3 idiots and PK under his belt, Rajkumar Hirani has emerged as a champion in filmmaking over the years. His films have not only made a strong cultural impact but have also raked in a lot of moolah at the box office. He is one of the most sought after filmmakers in India today, and in spite of that, he remains humble and simple. In an exclusive interview with Nation Next, Rajkumar Hirani spoke about his idea of filmmaking, his role as a producer and his brotherly relationship with writer Abhijat Joshi.


After directing four major blockbusters of Bollywood, you produced the R Madhavan starrer Saala Khadoos. Whats the difference between Rajkumar Hirani ? the producer and Rajkumar Hirani ? the director?

It was the first time I produced a film and did not direct it. I think a producers role is a bit easier than that of a director. Being a director, you’ve to work really hard. As a producer, your job is to make sure that the film gets a good release and people come to watch it. Sudha Kongara directed Saala Khadoos and I didn’t go for the shooting at all but I was creatively involved in the scripting and later at the editing stage.

Did you feel burdened a bit more as a producer because money was at stake?

You have to be very careful when you’re producing a film. If you can control your budget and can make a film in a particular budget, then there’s no worry. If I make a film like Saala Khadoos in 100 crores, that will be idiotic. If I make it with a recoverable investment, then I’m sure, I’m financially safe. Having said that, we didn’t compromise on quality. When we felt that we had to re-shoot a particular scene, we re-shot it.

All your films have conveyed social messages. While Lage Raho Munnabhai taught us Gandhigiri, 3 Idiots taught us how important it is to follow your passion in life. Your idea of filmmaking seems to bring about a social change.

I never really stepped out keeping in mind that I had to make a film, which gives a social message. I think the primary task of every film is to entertain people and when I started making films, my primary task was to make films, which make people laugh and make them happy. But also, as a filmmaker one should realise that though your job is to entertain, you should not sell your soul to entertain. Whenever I write a film, my belief goes into my writing. I see God and religion in a particular way and that belief reflected in PK. With Munna Bhai M.B.B.S., I just wanted to make a fun film with a gangster studying at a medical college but while I was writing it, I thought that a doctor should be compassionate, and that belief reflected in my writing.

People you work with are a constant fixture in your films.  Apart from junior actors you have also repeated big actors like Aamir Khan, Sanjay Dutt, R Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani and Jimmy Sheirgill in your films…

The cast of a film completely depends on what the script demands. I worked with Sanjay because he looked like Munna Bhai. I always felt that Aamir has a very innocent face and he could look like an alien with his ears out, so I worked with him in PK. When Madhavan came to me with the script of Saala Khadoos, I loved the script but my immediate worry was that Madhavan did not look like a coach as required by the script. I told Madhavan that he was the wrong choice for the film. He told me to give him a couple of months to prove that he could be the right choice. He went to the US and worked with a trainer for six months, grew his hair and beard. When he came back, I couldn’t recognise him. He had big biceps and he looked like a mountain! Then I got inspired to cast him. Madhavan worked hard to suit the character of the coach. I feel that Saala Khadoos is Madhavans best performance ever.

You and Abhijat Joshi have co-written brilliant films like Lage Raho Munnabhai, 3 Idiots and PK. When two creative people work together, creative differences are natural. What kind of rapport do you share with Abhijat?

I consider myself very lucky that I found somebody like Abhijat Joshi in my life. Vidhu Vinod Chopra saw a play in London, written by Abhijat, and left his card for him. Abhijat contacted Vinod when he came back to India and worked with Vinod on films like Kareeb and Mission Kashmir. I met Abhijat for the first time at Vinods house when I went there to narrate the script of Lage Raho Munnabhai to him. Abhijat was also present there and he got very excited after hearing the script. As hes from Ahmedabad, he knew a lot about Gandhiji; so he also wanted to work with me on the script. I was very reluctant initially as I knew that Abhijat stayed in the US and I thought we wouldn’t be able to work together. He went to the US and he wrote something on his own and sent it to me and gradually we started exchanging our writings via emails. That’s then when I thought, ‘Yaar yeh toh bahut kamaal ka soch raha hain. Jaisa main chahta hun waisa he soch raha hain!? It happens very rarely. I feel very fortunate that I found a brother in Abhijat who thinks like me. I have no memories of fighting with him in last 10 years. If there are creative differences, two things happen: If I disagree with what he has written, he actually gives it a thought. He never defends his work. And if he feels very strongly about something then he convinces me.

Also read: Stories of my films have their roots in Nagpur: Rajkumar Hirani

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DR Karthikeyan attends Rocketry: The Nambi Effect premier, recalls experience with Dr Nambi Narayanan




Radhika Dhawad | Delhi
Former CBI Director DR Karthikeyan, ex-officials from the probe agency recently attended special screening of ‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect.’

R Madhavan with DR Karthikeyan (centre)

Former CBI Director DR Karthikeyan, former officials from the probe agency and members of the film industry recently attended a special screening of film ‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’ at Siri Fort auditorium in New Delhi.

DR Karthikeyan writes…

“On personal invitation phone call from Dr Nambi Narayanan, I had the opportunity to see the very first premier show of the film ROCKETRY – The Nambi Effect – at Sirifort Auditorium, Delhi on 26th June – Sunday evening.

On arrival at the venue, I was happy to be met by the talented Star/Director/Producer  Mr R Madhavan and senior officers of the Ministry of I&B, Govt of India. It was an amazing production – destined to get an award – nationally and globally! The movie was screened all over the world on 1st July – produced both in English, Hindi and Tamil and also dubbed in many more languages.

Former CBI Director DR Karthikeyan, ex-officials from the probe agency recently attended special screening of ‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect.’

At the end of the show at the packed auditorium, I was invited by Mr Madhavan to the stage and given a bouquet of flowers along with my colleague PM Nair IPS. I shared a couple of words with the audience. “At that time when there was sensation about the so called “ISRO Spy Case,” I was asked by the CBI HQ for my opinion. I was then investigating Rajiv Gandhi Assassination –  as Chief of SIT CBI – I spent a few hours of conversation with Dr Nambi Narayanan who was in our custody at Malligai, Headquarters of SIT CBI at Chennai. I had no hesitation in reporting to CBI Hq my finding that not only Nambi Narayanan is innocent of any of the charges alleged against him but also he was a noble person.” It so happened when his case came up before the National Human Rights Commission for compensation, I was the Director General, NHRC at Delhi.

After hearing from me what actually happened to Nambi Narayanan, the Commission awarded him financial compensation, as interim relief. Dr Nambi Narayanan has been in touch with me since then from time to time. 

Here is one of his recent communications to me on WhatsApp – “The role you had played in relieving me from the charges was immense.Thank you very much Sir. I will be certainly very happy to meet you in person when I visit Delhi. Once again thank you very much! With regards Nambi Narayanan”. 

As early as on 30th June 2021, Dr Nambi Narayanan had sent to me on email – the extract – MEETING KARTHIKEYAN  ‘Pray to God, he will come.’– chapter 14 of his just then released Biography “Ready to Fire”- (How India and I Survived The ISRO Spy Case).  The same is also attached herewith. The life of Padma Bhushan Dr Nambi Narayanan, the celebrated space scientist, which is very powerfully portrayed in the movie Rocketry – The Nambi Effect carries a powerful message to everyone.

Satyameva Jayate – Truth alone triumphs – Mundaka Upanishad.

While the guilty should be identified and punished promptly and severely, no innocent or the family should suffer physically or mentally or emotionally. That should be the commitment on the part of everyone of us – particularly those in charge of governance, administration, law enforcement, intelligence and the judiciary!”

Released on July 1, the film is a biographical drama based on the life of Nambi Narayanan, a former scientist and aerospace engineer of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), who was falsely charged with espionage in 1994.

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Chandrashekhar Bawankule unveils poster, releases trailer of Nagpur film ‘Aamhi Butterfly’




Nation Next Newsroom | Photographer : Nitin Mankar | Nagpur

Former Maharashtra Minister and current MLC Chandrashekhar Bawankule unveiled the poster and released the trailer and songs of the upcoming Marathi film – Aamhi Butterfly – at an event held at Deshpande Hall in Nagpur. The film, which has been shot in Nagpur and other parts of Vidarbha, has been directed by Aniiket Limje and produced by Rajesh Rangari and Shrinivas Shiras.

Many child actors who have worked in the movie are from Vidarbha. During the trailer launch, MLA Tekchand Sawakar, actor Girish Pardesi and other actors from the movie, were present. Aamhi Butterfly is going to be released in August 2022.

Above are some of the pictures from the event!

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Ram Kamal Mukherjee named ‘Best Director’ for his short film ‘Ek Duaa’ at IWMBuzz Digital Awards




Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Ram Kamal Mukherjee (R) whikle receiving the ‘Best Director’ trophy at IWMBuzz Digital Awards ceremony in Mumbai

Filmmaker Ram Kamal Mukherjee won the ‘Best Director’ award for his short film ‘Ek Duaa’ at the recently held IWMBuzz Digital Awards ceremony at Taj Lands End in Mumbai. The film is produced by Esha Deol Takhtani and Assorted Motion Pictures. Apart from winning the award, it was a special occasion for Mukherjee as two other films he directed also got recognized.

Esha won the ‘Best Actress’ award in the popular categories for her critically acclaimed performance in ‘Ek Duaa.’ After accepting the award, Esha said: “This film is extremely special for me, because I turned producer with this film and I would like to give entire credit to captain of the ship Ram Kamal Mukherjee for bringing such a wonderful subject to me.”

Avinash Dwivedi won the ‘Most Promising Debut’ award for his acclaimed performance in ‘Rickshawala,’ a film directed by Mukherjee. Avinash, who was accompanied by his wife and actor Sambhavna Seth, said: “This is beyond my expectation that today I am getting this recognition as an actor amidst all Bollywood celebrities for my role in Ram Kamal sir’s film Rickshawala. To get honoured for a regional cinema amidst such Bollywood biggie reinforced my faith in good content.”

Gurmeet Choudhary won the ‘Most Popular Actor’ award for his performance in Mukherjee’s film ‘Shubho Bijoya.’ Choudhary said: “Ram Kamal is an amazing story teller. When he narrated this story to me and Debina, we knew that this film will click instantly. I am honoured to receive this award, though the competition was really tough. I thank my fans and jury members who voted for me.”

Other winners at the award ceremony included Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani, Rakul Preet, Raveena Tandon, Huma Qureshi, Dino Morea, Sikander Kher, Sonu Sood, Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Manish Paul and other popular names from the Hindi film industry.

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