After Jessica, Rajkumar Gupta moves to romance
Like the constantly moving camera in his films, Aamir and No One Killed Jessica, Rajkumar is perpetually moving ahead, in his quest for good cinema. “I cannot make candyfloss romance. Boy-meets-girl stories are not for me,” he declares, even as he discloses that his next film is titled Rapchik Romance. He doesn't want to reveal how ‘different' his take on love will be, but is more than willing to talk about No One Killed Jessica.
Rajkumar had just made Aamir and the critical appreciation helped him get a foothold in the industry. He dreamt big and NOKJ took shape. “I was drawn by the inspirational nature of the story. The system had failed and one woman had fought for justice all along. Everything seemed to be over when the media became pro-active and common people came forward to fight, with a feeling that justice was being denied to each one of them,” says Rajkumar. He wrote the script taking very few cinematic liberties. “I didn't want to make a docu-drama. I wanted to be close to reality, but deal with the issue with sensitivity,” he says.
The film has opened to enthusiastic critical and box office appreciation and Rajkumar is relieved. “Sabrina saw the film along with her cousins and friends and was overwhelmed.”
The brownie points he had scored with Aamir helped him rope in Vidya Balan and Rani Mukerji. For the rest of the cast, he took the help of a casting director and held auditions. “When I finished writing the script, I felt Vidya would fit Sabrina's part, given her sensitive nature as a person and an actor. She has a steak of vulnerability. And Rani had a lot of spunk that would befit the part of Meera.” Newcomer Myra as Jessica was the surprise package. “I knew Myra through a friend. I felt she resembled Jessica, had a similar personality and outlook towards life.”
Rajkumar hails from Jharkhand and didn't plan to be a film-maker. “I did my graduation in Delhi and moved to Mumbai to intern with advertising agencies before working in television,” he shares. He then assisted Anurag Kashyap for two films and owes his honing in movies rooted in reality to Kashyap. “Bollywood works in a strange way. I had my share of struggle even after Aamir,” he confesses.
Ask him if he received threats during the making of NOKJ and Rajkumar says, “Let me put it this way. No one called me directly.” Can that be a reason that the second half of the film doesn't delve much on the witnesses, cops and the politicians? “Not at all. Every character has a conclusion but the focus is on the journeys of the two protagonists. There is a beginning, middle and end to every character,” he affirms.