Raanjhanaa director Aanand L Rai opens up on film with SRK, making Tanu Weds Manu and struggling days

first_imgTanu Weds Manu director Aanand L Rai was at his candid best at the National Film Development Corporation’s (NFDC) Film Bazaar in Goa. At the tenth edition of the event held at at Panjim’s JW Mariott which has temporarily become an adda for Indian independent filmmakers to meet film buyers, festival programmers, international sales agents, producers and more, Rai was looking for international partners for his production Nimmo, a film directed by his assistant Rahul Shankalya.ALSO READ: Shah Rukh and Raanjhanaa director’s film where SRK plays a dwarf gets working title – ‘Bandhua’ ALSO READ: Imtiaz Ali opens up on SRK-Anushka’s The Ring, AR Rahman and modern-day relationships ALSO READ: Shah Rukh-Alia’s Dear Zindagi wows B-Town, celebs tweet praises OPINION: Dear Zindagi is Shah Rukh’s natural evolution, not a change of track WATCH: No one understands me, says Shah Rukh Khan Meanwhile, he took some time out to discuss his cinematic journey at the Knowledge Series session. Over the course of an hour, Aanand L Rai covered a gamut of topics such as his next film with Shah Rukh Khan, setting stories in small town India, presenting strong female characters and also defending himself against accusations of promoting stalking through his film Raanjhanaa.Below are a few excerpts from the hour-long conversation:His two flops have taught him a lotRai didn’t have the most auspicious start as a director with back-to-back duds in Strangers and Thoda Life Thoda Magic. “My biggest teachings came from there,” he said. “I realised may be I was cheating myself.” Rai’s biggest lesson from his failings is “Woh kahaani sunaao jispe aapko yakeen ho. (Tell a story that you believe in).”advertisement”I’m a very good struggler. I need very little to survive.”The declaration drew a hearty applause from the audience as Aanand L Rai discussed his journey from Strangers, his first flop, to Tanu Weds Manu, his first hit. Talking about the experience of making Tanu Weds Manu, Rai said, “We didn’t have much to lose. We were a happy team.” Rai recounted how he assured his wife that either the Kangana Ranaut-starrer comedy would be successful or he would make a lot of money doing television shows in case it fails.Being fearless is importantAanand L Rai has acquired fearlessness after some 35 years. “I’ve got this weapon and it has made me more adventurous,” he said. “There is a certain growth and learning. There is nobody between me and my audience. I will come to know where I’m going wrong.”Rai credits his middle class upbringing – his father was a teacher – for helping him have this connection with the masses. “I’m a very blessed person. I have got my share of love and affection. There is a lot of theraav in me. I’m not competing, fighting or in a rat race with anyone. I just enjoy telling stories. Once the shoot is done, there is no anxiety. I know I have done my best,” said Rai.Unemployment brought writer Himanshu Sharma and Rai togetherRai spoke of how his successful partnership with Sharma came to be. The duo has been behind both the Tanu Weds Manu films as well as Raanjhanaa.”Berozgaari jab saath laati hai toh woh lambe time tak rehti hai (When unemployment brings people together, then that bond will stay for a long time),” said Rai, who is working with Sharma on his next starring Shah Rukh Khan. Every cast member is important”For a director or writer, it is not about lines or minutes on screen. It’s about the story and respecting your characters. We have always respected actors when we are casting,” said Rai.On what it takes to be a filmmaker”Falling in love and understanding people, I have survived on that,” said Rai. “I just love communicating.”On Kundan’s stalking-like behaviour in RaanjhaanaRai stood up for the protagonist of his fourth film stating that for Kundan (played by Dhanush) it was either “love or no love, acceptance or no acceptance”. “There is an innocence to it,” he said. “We took (the criticism) sportingly because we were never trying to sell an item number or a girl in bikini.” On the women in his film”The women’s role in society is growing. Women like Bindya, Zoya represent a certain kind of independence and confidence. For the writer it is inspiring to see this change in the last decade,” said Rai.On his latest role as a producer”I’m a very lazy person,” says Rai who has produced Nil Battey Sannata, Happy Bhaag Jaayegi and Nimmo, which stars Marathi actress Anjali Patil and releases next year.advertisement”I can’t go to anybody’s sets because I’m worried that they will make me work,” Rai joked. Describing producing as a very “emotional” job, Rai spoke of how he would be content if he could just cut down the hardships of a few directors by a few years.”Not many directors are lucky with work,” he said “The idea is to enable them to make what they want to make.” Rai was also forthcoming on the troubles with Manmarziyan which changed hands from Sameer Sharma to Ashwiny Iyer Tiwary and now is again in limbo. “I would rather lose money by stopping production,” he said, “than by losing and wasting the story.”On the much-anticipated film with Shah Rukh Khan”There is a story to tell even if he wasn’t playing a dwarf,” said Rai. “It will roll next year. All I can say is that it is a love story. If I sit down to talk about it then it will take an hour and a half. It will be something interesting. It is taking a lot of time on script but then making a good film is more important.”WATCH: Shah Rukh-Alia’s Dear Zindagi preview: 5 reasons to watch the filmlast_img read more