Rajkumar Hirani talks about 3 idiots, Aamir Khan and more (credit Times of India)
TOI: Do you realise that Aamir Khan and you are the biggest equity in Bollywood today?
Rajkumar Hirani : I’ve never looked at Aamir and me being the biggest equity. For me 3 Idiots is not a business proposal. I just see it as a film I’m passionate about. Also I can’t describe to you the sheer delight of working with Aamir. Here is an actor, who is there available for you, doing nothing else but this film. At times we have woken up at three in the mornings to shoot; we’ve done this non-stop for days on end. Aamir would wake up three hours before the shoot time to play his game of badminton. He wanted that ‘flush’ because he is playing a much younger character in the film. His face had to look fresh. This merger between Aamir and me in that sense was perfect. I always thought I tired out people, but after meeting Aamir I realised, he never gets tired.
TOI: Before you signed him on, did you have any reservations at all about working with AK?
Rajkumar Hirani : Before starting 3 Idiots, I had heard all these stories of Aamir that he is going to interfere, trouble, etc. But I got over my apprehensions in the first couple of days itself. Aamir is a complete joy to work with. He is so passionate, so committed that I now feel I may not be able to work with any other actor after having worked with Aamir. I told him that he has spoilt me.
TOI: Weren’t you pushing it, when you cast Aamir as a student though?
Rajkumar Hirani : 3 Idiots is about students, but it is in two time spans. One is while they are students, and one phase is after they have passed out of college. My requirement was four capable actors, because the roles are not just black or white, they are complex roles. They have shades of grey to them. I auditioned people across the globe. Finally, I found one guy in Los Angeles for one of the roles. Sharman Joshi and R Madhavan are also there. Believe me, now that the film is complete I can tell you there is no one as good as Aamir. Age is the least of the issues as far as the film goes.
TOI: Is the film a complete breakaway from your Munnabhai series?
Rajkumar Hirani : 3 Idiots and Munnabhai have one thing similar. Both are stories told from the heart. Like Munnabhai, 3 Idiots is a funny story, very emotional, very entertaining with a message. But the similarity ends there. 3 Idiots is shot out of Mumbai, the look is very youthful, it’s visually very different from Munnabhai.
TOI: Would you have been a worried man had Karan Johar’s My Name is Khan come alongside your film?
Rajkumar Hirani : Not really. No two films can actually be a competition to each other. If there are two good films releasing simultaneously people will want to see both. If two bad films come together, the audience will skip both.
TOI: Little is known about you on the sets… Are you short-tempered, foul-mouthed or genial?
Rajkumar Hirani : I am a different guy on the sets. I have my moments of fury. But I don’t throw mobile phones or slippers at people. I am very single-minded while filming. I tend to tire people out. The only guy who tires me is my writer Abhijat Joshi. He does not go home even if it is five in the morning, until he cracks whatever it is we are working on. And 90 per cent of the time we resolve everything before we pack up for the day.