Fondly known as Raju by everyone in Bollywood, Rajkumar Hirani is the current toast of the Hindi film industry. Within eight days of its release, his latest film “Sanju” has crossed over 200 crores at the box office. This video explains his filmmaking style.
Every single actor and actress, from Arjun Kapoor to Parineeti Chopra, Abhishek Bachchan to Ranveer Singh and more – want to be directed by this phenomenal man. Hirani is not just an established and acclaimed director, producer and screenwriter but he also edits most of his own films.
There is a lot more to be known about this visionary who continues to stand out in his fraternity. These include:
In the last 15 years, Rajkumar Hirani has directed five films which include Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003), Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006), 3 Idiots (2009), PK (2014) and now, the explosive biopic on the life on Sanjay Dutt (“Sanju”) which has become an instant hit.
However, not many are aware of this, but his early career didn’t work out the way he wanted it to. For many years he tried his luck at being a film editor but to no avail.
This forced him to shift to advertising where he established himself as a director and even a producer of ad films. He had once appeared in a Fevicol Ad as well a Kinetic Luna ad. The latter was an ad campaign created by Ogilvy Mather.
Soon enough, he decided to quit advertising and began working with Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Some of his early works included editing the promos and trailers of “1942: A Love Story”. He even edited “Kareeb.” This led him to his next big opportunity of working on the film “Mission Kashmir.”
What differentiates Hirani from other filmmakers is his ability to create a story where he can deftly use humour to question the mindset of the audience. Raju Hirani is known as the Christopher Nolan of India – only because they both have the distinction of being critically and commercially acclaimed directors with only a handful of movies in their kitty.
An expert at understanding the psyche of the Indian moviegoer, his movies are lighthearted but revolve around significant societal issues. What is really special about Hirani is that his films don’t just do well at the box-office, but they also have a good shelf life.
In almost all of his films, there is one protagonist who is afraid to tell the female protagonist that he loves her. There is always a father who is fed up with their son or daughter, and at the same time, there is always an antagonist who undergoes a transformation by the end of the movie. In every film, there is a gigantic challenge that the protagonist has to face, which of course, they overcome in flying colours. However, there are way too many characters in his films, and their storylines always end on a positive and happy note.
He feels, “When someone says to me, ‘Our minds are preconditioned to believe things, and you gave us a different viewpoint to think,’ I feel like I’ve done something worthy.”
Every film is like the first film for him and every time it feels harder to capture the attention of the audience. But what makes his movies strike such a chord with the audience? The answer lies in his innate ability to take the uncanny elements of life and weave them together in a film and make them magical.
What do some filmmakers and writers say about him?
Karan Johar on ‘An Afternoon Film Bazaar with Rajeev Masand’
“I love the fact that he (Hirani) is the country’s biggest filmmaker and he has been making good films time after time. He is making socially-relevant blockbusters. I hope I come up with a brilliant idea for a movie with a social relevance.”
Writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar said that the reason why Rajkumar Hirani is able to make cinema that touches the heart is because he is a good human being. “I am a huge admirer of Rajkumar Hirani. He does really good work, and now again, he has done an amazing job. I always say one thing about him that to make such kind of films you not only have to be a really good director or writer, but you have to be really good human being. He is really good human being, and that’s what works for him.”
Anurag Kashyap was very impressed by Rajkumar Hirani’s film “PK” and said that the filmmaker is one of the country’s bravest directors.
To make every scene entertaining and engaging can be tough for a biopic which draws from real-life events. For “Sanju” though, it was perhaps far trickier because it dealt with problematic aspects like the actor getting addicted to drugs and being convicted for illegal possession of firearms.
A Hirani film is not helmed by Bollywood stars or opulent sets but by sheer good writing. The director has been able to entertain the audience despite the prejudice and duplicity that is ingrained within the Indian society. As of now, his latest film is a departure from his usual ‘track record’ of quintessential comedies and is actually a biopic about the troubled life of Sanjay Dutt; along with a social message. Will Hirani try something new in the future? Only time will tell.
As a Hirani fan, I hope “Sanju” has the same relevance in the years to come as “3 Idiots” which is still being avidly watched a decade after its release.
This post was first published on my blog.