This is the second of a two-part interview with Rajkumar Hirani interview. We ran Part I on Dec. 11. Here, Raju Hirani discusses how Sanjay Dutt gave his best shot after he came to now that he will be jailed soon, why he chose to make Dutt’s biopic over part three of Munnabhai franchise, his good friend Boman Irani and more.
Aamir Khan in various looks has grabbed the attention of many. What is he playing?
Some are saying he’s playing an alien while others are saying that he’s god, drunkard or mentally challenged. I would say he’s one of them for sure. Now you guess!
What has also caught attention is Aamir’s nude poster holding a transistor. Did you get into any sort of trouble with the Censor Board considering the fact that they have started objecting even to a word like ‘virginity’?
No, because they saw the film and realized the context. I don’t think the poster is vulgar. I don’t think Aamir is even nude in the poster.
There’s been a social relevance to all your films and there have been talks that PK isalso spiritual and social. Have you tackled issues affecting our society?
Yes, I am tackling an issue which I think is very relevant but unfortunately can’t talk about it.There’s too much emphasis on Bhojpuri.I like to play with languages. If you remember, Munnabhai spoke tapori Bambaiya. I think our country is filled with so much flavour. Imagine Munnabhai saying things in a normal way and not saying in a tapori style. How will that sound? A language enhances the humour. I wanted to do Rajasthani but Aamir felt it should be Bhojpuri. He had the Dilip Kumar influence from Gunga Jumna.
What about Sanjay Dutt’s biopic? Have you started work on it?
Yes, I’m scripting it.
How close are you to Sanjay and why did you choose his biopic?
I had no plan of making a biopic on Sanjay as I was planning to write Munnabhai third part after PK. But when Sanju was out for three weeks parole, I met him at the hospital where his wife Maanayata was admitted. Sanju asked me to come home next day. So, I went his house. I know Sanju well but it’s not that we used to talk everyday and are not thick friends as such. But he was mentally prepared thinking that he has to go to jail. In that frame of mind, he started talking about his past, his childhood and other aspects. We ended up talking for eight hours that day. He told me a lot of things. Next day again I met him and we spoke. My co-writer Abhijat and I sat with him for 25 days. I was also simultaneously editing PK that time. I discovered that I worked with Sanju on three films but I knew just one per cent of that man. I saw a film there. There’s no intention to glorify him or put him in a good or bad light. I just want to say ke ek aadmi ki zindagi mein itna kuch ho sakta hai. I’m still collecting material in the sense that I’m meeting his friends and family members and the research process is still on.
Is Sanju open for the idea?
Obviously, without his permission, how can I do that? He was very excited when I told him and he gave us a go-ahead.
Is there any particular phase of Sanju’s life that you want to reflect?
It’s too early to say because there’s lot of material and we are not sure how much material we need to show in three hours’ format.
Did Sanju’s jail sentence have an impact on the shoot schedules?
No. When we were shooting PK, we had no idea that Sanju’s court verdict will happen all of a sudden. We had to shoot with him for 16 days. We finished shooting 15 days peacefully with him in Rajasthan and only one day of Mumbai shoot was left. But the judgement came, which was shocking to all of us.
I couldn’t even tell Sanju that his one day shoot was left but he knew it. He somehow managed to shoot it just two days before he surrendered. And that was a very tough day. When he knew he had to go to jail, he was in his own zone. He would look at you but would be thinking about something else. The great thing is that he entered the studio with teary eyes and shot his scenes like a professional. He played his part very excitedly. And I must tell you that for the shoot of PK, Sanju landed up on sets before time. He constantly kept telling me, ‘I’ve changed. Dekh main badal gaya hu. Jaldi bana Munnabhai.’
Boman Irani is a regular fixture in your films. At the time of Happy New Year, he told us that even if Raju gives me a passing shot, I’ll do it.
Boman is one genuine friend I have. There was actually no role for Boman in PK. I told him that I’m feeling very odd for not having him in PK because I enjoy with him on sets. But somehow I still figured out something and told him that there’s one role for which he’s required on sets only for a few days and he didn’t even ask about it. It’s quite interesting and I’m sure Boman’s fans will not get disappointed.
Sushant Singh Rajput also has a special appearance?
You can call it whatever you like. Sanju and Sushant are playing smaller parts.
When will Munnabhai part three happen?
We have to wait.
You’ve always wanted to work with Shah Rukh Khan and you approached him for many of your films. Is there anything you’ve in mind for him?
Right now, there’s only Munnabhai third part and Sanju’s biopic which will take some time. I would love to work with Salman and Shah Rukh but I work very slowly and take my own time to write scripts.