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‘Humour has to appeal to everyone’

harshikaa udasi
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chat Rajkumar Santoshi on his latest film Phata Poster Nikla Hero and on his experience working with Shahid and Ranbir

in a lighter vein Phata Poster Nikla Hero
in a lighter vein Phata Poster Nikla Hero

Rajkumar Santoshi says that every time he makes a film he feels like a director on his debut project. “That makes me experience the fear, the freshness and the passion of filmmaking. Even for Phata Poster Nikla Hero , I felt how I did when I made Ghayal ,” says the popular and acclaimed director of Ghayal, Damini, Andaz Apna Apna, Lajaa and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani , to name a few. He is one filmmaker who is as adept at handling gender-sensitive subjects as he is at comedies.

Rajkumar’s new film Phata Poster Nikla Hero, starring Shahid Kapoor and Ileana D’Cruz, has just released and the man expects his audiences to be surprised by Shahid in the film. The director denies having said that his film would give Shahid’s career a boost. He says, “That’s preposterous. But yes, I know Shahid will be seen in a new light. When Ranbir acted in Ajab Prem…, people said he had opened up as an actor. I think Shahid will receive a similar feedback.”

The similarities between Ajab Prem… and Phata Poster… are being spoken of in stage whispers. Rajkumar laughs them off. “Both these films are very different. Shahid plays a wannabe actor. We have some intense scenes between the father (Darshan Jariwala) and the son. It’s healthy yet mainstream entertainment. I don’t want humour to only reach one section of society that’s reviewing films with a certain mindset. Humour has to appeal to everyone. The moment people laugh at the situations in my film, that’s my answer to critics.”

The director rubbishes rumours of a standoff between Ranbir and him which is why the former is not part of Phata Poster… “There is a back story to this. When I was making Ajab Prem…, my first choice was Shahid. But then he couldn’t commit to the film and Ranbir stepped into the picture. This time, I was in favour of Ranbir, but he could not make dates available and Shahid was there! So I am happy that I have worked with both of them and both are great performers.”

Final word

Rajkumar clears the air on his upcoming films. “I am making a movie based on the play Jis Lahore Nahin Dekhya Woh Jamiya Nahin , the rights to which I have bought. The film stars Anil Kapoor in the lead and is based on the sensitive Indo-Pak relations. I will cast two more male and three female characters.”

“I am not doing the Ghayal sequel. I don’t believe in making sequels for the sake of making them. I have to be convinced of the flow of the narrative. In the case of Andaz Apna Apna , I am looking for a good script. Once I finalise that, I can talk about casting and other details,” he says, obviously amused at the speculations over the potential cast of the earlier Aamir-Salman starrer.

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