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  1. #1
    Kal Ho Na Ho
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    India & Cambodia

    Default Aamir is a joy: Raju Hirani

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    Raju Hirani aka the creator of Munnabhai is not a wildly funny man though he is given to fairly frequent bouts of laughter. At the moment, he is

    completely immersed in the editing of 3 Idiots; while doing so he enters that world and actually forgets the real world, he says. We drag him back to answer some questions....

    Say something Munnabhaiesque
    No tension. Apun hai na. (laughs)

    When making Lage Raho Munnabhai did the success of Munnabhai MBBS put any pressure on you and is a similar pressure delaying the next in the Munnabhai series?
    Itís actually how you look at it. I have never looked at it as pressure from any quarter. If at all, itís me who keeps pressurising me and that bogs me down. I actually work too hard on my scripts. I keep asking myself, ďIs it good enough?Ē Iím not usually worried about what somebody else is going to say. You need to feel very happy about what you are doing. If you are not happy, then there is pressure.

    We (Vinod Chopra and me) are not trying to cash in on the success of the two Munnabhai films. If we were doing that then we would make one Munnabhai every year. We would have Munnabhai cartoons, comics and animation. We could actually milk the brand in that sense. The reason for not actually making another one is because I am working on the script and I am not happy with the final script which is also what happened with Lage Raho Munnabhai. I took so many years to make it because I wasnít too happy with it.

    You have to strive to think of a unique idea and sometimes, for that, you have to keep waiting till it strikes you. With Munnabhai Chale Amrika, I have reached a stage where I have found a completely unique idea. It is not a Ďfish out of waterí situation in which two characters go from this world to that world. Thatís done to death. Itís not as simplistic as that. Itís much funnier and much deeper.

    How does a comic scene evolve?
    Itís not about evolving a comic scene or a dramatic scene. You just do whatever the story needs. I work with Abhijat Joshi and we completely go by the gut feel of the scene. If it is a comic scene and when I am narrating, we look into each otherís eyes and if it makes us laugh, then that is a scene that is working. And when it is an emotional scene, our eyes get wet. So itís completely from within, rather than structuring it, or trying to manipulate it.

    You have worked with an intelligent actor like Aamir Khan (3 Idiots) and a less structured actor like Sanjay Dutt. How is your approach different with actors?
    Sanju (Sanjay Dutt) is completely an instinctive actor. If I ask him for a rehearsal, he will look into my eyes and say ďWhat? You want to rehearse one month in advance?Ē which is completely impossible. And I know if I make him do that, he will come prepared and will fail miserably. But if I ask him to do something impromptu, he does it the way you want it. If I think itís not right, then he will instinctively do it another way. Then there is Boman Irani, who, if I donít rehearse with, will die on the sets. So he has to be prepared a month in advance. Like when he was playing Lucky Singh, I had to take him to meet some Sardarjis, he had to sit with them, he had to drink with them, he had to observe them, video shoot them. Arshad was completely given the lines, he got the gist and modified them. If I tell him to follow the lines as given, he will not be able to do so. So with every actor, you have to realise his strength and utilise it. Like Aamir loves to get involved with the script, he analyses the script, he prepares a lot. There is a completely different joy in working with Aamir.

    But thatís the job of a director. When you work with Boman, as you enter the set, you have to go to his van and hold his hand and talk to him for 10-15 minutes every day, otherwise he feels neglected. I may not do the same with Aamir. I know he has rehearsed and understood the script and he will come on the sets and perform. Actually direction is also about human resource management.

    What happens when there are three very individualistic people like you, Vinod Chopra (as producer) and Aamir Khan involved with a film. Do sparks fly?
    It works like magic. Vinod is a great producer. He takes care of a lot of the producerís problems, so thatís an area I donít have to worry about. Actually, in the last two films I used to get involved in the production too. This time, I am running out of time, I am locked up here editing while he is taking care of marketing, and distribution. Aamir says he is good at marketing, and somebody else is good at distribution, so everybody is doing their defined roles.

    How true are you keeping 3 Idiots to the book by Chetan Bhagat Five Point Someone?
    3 Idiots is inspired from the book but it is completely different. I would say just five per cent of it is the same. Books and films are different. So the moment you decide to pick up a book and make a film as it is, it will be a disaster. Itís a nice book, but itís anecdotal and films canít be anecdotal. It has to have a story. The reason I mention this is because people should not go to the theatre thinking, we are going to watch Five Point Someone and later find out that itís a completely different film.

    When you get stuck with your writing, what do you reference for inspiration?
    I actually donít go back to films or even books as reference points. If we get stuck when writing, we keep prodding at it and donít move ahead. Abhijat and I do very stupid things if we get stuck at something. We move out of the house for a walk and tell ourselves that we wonít return till we get a solution. There have been times when we havenít returned till five in the morning and 99 per cent of the time, we have cracked it. We could be sitting at Bandstand at 4am and are just about to go back, suddenly one of us will say, ďLets try for three more minutesĒ and in those three minutes we will generally get a spark of an idea. We actually work for 16-18 hours everyday on the script. Abhijat stays in the US, I work through the day and send him an email. He works through the night and sends me an email. We completely work like maniacs. We do stupid things. Like once we stopped at a signal thinking over a scene and we didnít realise that we had stopped there for 20 minutes. Mostly we pick up stories from our life.

    Raju Hiraniís favourite five films
    1) Pyaasa. Itís one of Guru Duttís finest works.
    2) Anand for the kind of story that it is - a dying man still trying to live a great life.
    3) One Flew Over The Cuckooís Nest is one of my favourite films. I love stories where you fight against the system for your rights. Thatís what came through in Munnabhai too.
    4) Amol Palekarís Golmaal. Itís a funny film. The whole idea of making a film revolving around a moustache is a unique idea.
    5) Lagaan again for its unique idea. For me Lagaan fits the bill of, theoretically speaking, a perfect script.

  2. #2
    dR Angels
    Join Date
    Apr 2009


    Thanks !!!
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