Aanand L Rai's films are all about simplicity, a quality, the director says, he cannot do without. Whether he directs a film or produces it, simplicity is one element that can be seen in all his movies, whether it is Tanu Weds Manu or Happy Bhag Jayegi.
After a patchy start with Strangers and Thodi Life Thoda Magic, Rai found his footing as a director in films like the Tanu Weds Manu series and Raanjhanaa. "The key to my films is simplicity. I haven't changed fundamentally post Tanu Weds Manu, because I don't want to. I have this fear... You can say I am very aware about this, that the day I change as a person I won't be able to make the kind of films that I do," Rai said.
"I'll always keep my inner self like this, the way it is now, because my stories come from there. If I changed my inner core, if I get corrupted, if I let this simplicity go, it'll reflect on the stories," he added. Along with blockbuster directorial hits, Rai soon become one of the top most producers by backing films like Newton, Shubh Mabgal Saavdhaan, Happy Bhag Jayegi and Mukkabaaz. "I have kept my simplicity intact, whether I direct or produce a film. I don't ever want to change that. Because that's what people connect with my film. I have carried that simplicity in all my films," he said.
The director does not feel he has changed his approach towards films because the audience has changed. He believes the viewers were always smart but the writers seldom offered them great material. "The audience hasn't changed. They were always smart and intelligent. Today the directors are telling new stories because we are writing new ones. If the audience was not smart, how did we have Mother India, Guide, Pyaasa? But then there came a phase where we become complacent. We just didn't offer the audience anything new. But today, slowly we have picked up again. We are back to writing good stories and the audience, like always, is appreciating," he says.
Rai is currently looking forward to the release of his next, Manmarziyaan. Portions of the film were earlier filmed by Sameer Sharma featuring Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar and Vicky Kaushal but the project got shelved. It was later revived with Bareilly Ki Barfi director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari coming on board to direct it but the project again fell through. The film was finally directed by Anurag Kashyap, this time featuring Vicky, Taapsee Pannu and Abhishek Bachchan.
"I am just on the lookout for good stories. There was never a time when I thought Manmarziyaan won't happen because I believed in the story and stood by it. This was meant to happen. A good story never dies. And if it's with me, it'll never get lost. You just cannot deprive the audience of a good subject," he adds.
His next directorial is Shah Rukh Khan starrer Zero, which is scheduled to release this December. The movie in which SRK is playing the role of a vertically challenged person also features Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma.
(With IANS inputs)
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