Rajkumar Hirani says new age dawning for Indian film industry
MUMBAI: Bollywood box office king Rajkumar Hirani believes a new golden age is dawning for the Indian movie industry as filmmakers look outside the box to tell more varied stories.
"Before there was a belief that you had to have songs," said Hirani, the man behind a string of Bollywood hits including the global sensation "3 Idiots".
"Now people are completely experimenting with the subject matter."
Even those directors who continue to include songs are also exploring "much darker themes" and still enjoying massive box office success, he said.
Acase in point is 55-yearold Hirani´s latest offering, "Sanju", which the director has brought to this year´s
23rd Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, the largest of its kind in Asia.
"Sanju" is based on the real-life story of the rise and fall of Sanjay Dutt, who was born into Bollywood royalty but was jailed after being accused of involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks of
The director admits the project was a risk given the often grim nature of the story, which includes gritty scenes of drug taking and its lead character´s descent into depression.
But the strong box office returns have convinced him that audiences want a wider range of options from Hindi language films.
Sanju" has so far grossed $80 million, placing it third on Bollywood´s all-time global earners´ list, according to The Times of India newspaper.
"It´s very much a human interest story about battling your demons," said Hirani. "It´s a very different kind of film than I have done before.
"While I was making it everybody thought it was a mistake."
But Hirani said he was more confident the film might succeed after seeing the reaction ofDutt, whowas released from jail in 2016, at a preview screening.
He saw it three days before its release and I was watching him," said Hirani. "He was crying and after that he sat at home and drank for three days, so I knew it had worked."