It's the simplicity factor which is being most talked about and the film has been termed as 'Hirani cinema' which is quite a compliment considering the fact that 3 Idiots boasts of superstars like Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor. In a conversation with us, Raju (as he is fondly known) explains how he put together the entire film and later Aamir Khan gave it a different dimension altogether by bringing in the entire marketing effort.
Now that the film is a huge blockbuster, one wonders if 3 Idiots was an easy film to make, especially due to the fact that you had two modern day classics (Munnabhai MBBS and Lage Raho Munnabhai) behind you?
Yes, 3 Idiots was easier and there were quite a few factors that contributed to it. I went about making the film layer by layer and by the time the script came through, we knew that we were getting into something special. Moreover, it was all also possible due to the commitment and availability of my three lead actors - Aamir, Madhavan and Sharman. They were truly focused on just this film and were not working on anything else. Boman too was completely on board from Day One.
How about Kareena Kapoor?
Of course yes, she has been a great asset to the film as well. She was in fact working on other films as well during 3 Idiots but it was nice of her to take out time and fit 3 Idiots into her schedule.
Talking about Kareena, when someone of her stature and standing in the industry gets into a project, one suddenly visualises a star out there. For you as a filmmaker, what did you want from Kareena - a star or an actor?
I wanted a real person. Period. Ever since the first promo of the film came out, people did observe that it was a very different Kareena out there. Still, there were a few who doubted if she would be seen like this in the entire film. Now that 3 Idiots has released, everyone can see that she is really deglamourised and the girl next door. You know, this was the kind of look that was always envisioned by me; someone who is simple and real. No wonder, she was made to wear spectacles (smiles).
In fact one also wonders how you actually managed this entire marketing and promotional blitzkrieg that took place for 3 Idiots? Even your own Lage Raho Munnabhai had arrived quietly in spite of a hit like Munnabhai MBBS behind you.
Arrey yaar for me this all happened for the first time (laughs). Earlier in case of Munnabhai series, Vidhu Vinod and me just went about doing some regular promotion of the film by placing TV promos, giving some interviews and doing other routine stuff. However, Aamir took it all to a different level altogether.
How about taking the film by itself to a different level? I am sure given his reputation; there must have been 'creative' and 'let's-make-it-perfect' contributions as well?
But that was the case with everyone else in the cast and crew as well! In fact one thing which I make quite clear to all is that they should have a freedom of expressing themselves. Just because your first few films have worked shouldn't make the person in front of you either nervous or complacent. Do tarah ke log hote hain. Ek woh jo nervous hote hain suggestions dene mein. Others feel that chalo achcha director hai, isse to sab pata hi hoga. Now that's a dangerous situation for any filmmaker who starts believing that he is Mr. Know-it-all. Agar aap apne aap ko boss samajhne lag gaye toh ho gaya kaam!
So there wasn't any feeling of Raju being the boss of the show?
That was always the intent. I ask and rather request everyone on my sets to opine. Everyone participated and so did Aamir. And let me add that he is very good in that. His contributions do make a lot of difference.
For a change a film of Aamir is being termed as a Hirani-Aamir movie instead of just being an Aamir movie. Some shift here...
(Laughs) Well, I haven't heard that and even if this is being said then I don't really have much to say. See, when you are making a film, you hear so many things around you that you tend to shut your mind and just concentrate on getting your job done. But yes, one thing that we all have learnt from Aamir is how to market a film. He is a marketing monster.
3 Idiots is now officially the biggest money spinner ever and within two weekends of it's release has displaced Ghajini from the top position. With over Rs. 100 crores nett in it's kitty just from India, the film has placed Rajkumar Hirani right up there in the top league that has filmmakers like Karan Johar, Rakesh Roshan, Aditya Chopra, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Imtiaz Ali sitting pretty.