Although many would consider it prudish to associate Rajkumar Hirani with a name such as Christopher Nolan, few would question their success.
The main association that one could form in both cases would be that both directors/writers have directed few films. Regardless of the lack of quantity, the quality of their respective screenplays more than make up for it. Both personalities are critically acclaimed, and their films have become financial powerhouses. Here, we shall look at Raju Hirani’s limited but exciting filmography, which have captured the attention of the Indian audience and critics.
Munnabhai MBBS (2003)
‘Munnaibhai MBBS’ has aged well over the years, becoming a cult classic for its parody of the medical scene in India. The one reason why audiences flocked to the theatres during its release was undoubtedly the name of Sanjay Dutt. Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani were still relatively unknown at the time. The movie’s acting and writing was acclaimed to the extent that it was even awarded a National Award due to the wholesome experience that it promised to the audience.
Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006)
In the much awaited sequel to the hugely popular ‘Munnabhai MBBS’, Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi reprised their roles. Sequels tend to have a bad reputation due to the change in cast or direction the franchise usually takes. However, Raju Hirani defied the notion, with ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ becoming a bigger hit than its prequel. Add the fact that Raju Hirani added philosophical ideas akin to “ahimsa” to the movie, the nationalistic fervour was bound to add to the success.
3 Idiots (2009)
Amidst much controversy regarding the material and accusations of plagiarism, the movie ‘3 Idiots’ took the Indian cinema and its audience by storm. Although it has been officially adapted from the storyline of “Five Point Someone” by Chetan Bhagat, quite a bit of the screenplay has been changed in order to give Raju Hirani’s own take on the film. The lead trio of Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi and R. Madhavan had such great chemistry that the film was an instant hit. Raju Hirani’s own views and changes to the main story of the novel also added to the beauty of the film.
Speaking of controversies, none caused a greater stir in the Indian media and the religious perspectives of a majority of the audience than Raju Hirani’s ‘PK’. India’s intolerance when it came to the idea and notion of religion was explored in this outing with Aamir Khan. Hirani donned the proverbial directorial hat for this movie, and displayed his acumen through writing the screenplay as well. The film turned out to be a mammoth success, garnering well over 800 crore rupees in total. Just goes to show that even that if the story and direction is thought provoking, regardless of the controversy, India’s new generation of audiences are willing to open their minds.
Hirani’s next project as a director will tackle a controversial and polarising personality, instead of just a topic. ‘Sanju’ will depict the life of Bollywood megastar Sanjay Dutt and the different stages of his life. The lead role will be played by the brilliant method actor that is Ranbir Kapoor. The Indian audience is rife with anticipation, as the movie’s teaser has mustered 150 million views, making it the most viewed teaser for a Hindi film, of all time. Expect this to bolster Hirani’s legacy as the best in Hindi Cinema today.