October 17, 2020 9:31:11 pm
National award-winning director Hansal Mehta and actor Rajkummar Rao’s Chhalaang were all set to hit theaters earlier this year. However, due to the pandemic, the film is now releasing on Amazon Prime Video on November 13.
During a Facebook LIVE on the Indian Express Facebook page earlier this year, the filmmaker discussed his upcoming film Chhalaang.
Here are the excerpts:
Tell us about Chhalaang.
Chhalaang is a film that is positive, and in these times, it will give people a lot of positivity.
Your films have always been critically acclaimed but are you pursuing commercial success with Chhalaang?
I am not looking for commercial success. I try to make my films with as much honesty and passion as possible. I just want to tell good stories. I want them to make money because a blockbuster movie lets you tell more stories. And I think, fingers crossed, Chhalaang is one of those movies. Rajkummar and I are making a different movie from what we’ve done so far. There is humor. It’s a social comedy. There is so much for everyone. No one dies or gets arrested (smiles). It’s my happy movie, and I pray it will be a huge success.
How do you think the industry will change after the pandemic?
My kind of films are easier to make in these moments because I like working with a small team. Shahid was made with only 15 members, Citylights with maybe around 30. I can’t wait to come back to this kind of cinema and I think the circumstances will bring us back to such an environment.
One of your films that you would like to re-edit on OTT platforms?
I think Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar. I would like to be able to do a digital restoration of the film. It’s a movie ahead of its time with a great script by Saurabh Shukla. It is relevant at the moment because of the migrant crisis we are examining. It is a very personal look at the story of a migrant. My whole obsession with migrant stories started with this film. So, I wish it would come out in a blank form and be seen by people.
You have collaborated so many times with Rajkummar Rao. How would you describe its growth?
I don’t know how to describe Raj. He is my closest collaborator. When I see him succeed, it gives me a lot of pride. I feel proud like a father but also envious of the kind of work he does. I wish I could make a movie like Newton. Honestly, seeing a director for the first time doing such a job gave me sleepless nights. Raj has emerged from a great personal tragedy over the past few years and has achieved this exceptional growth as a person and an actor.
Apart from Rajkummar Rao and Manoj Bajpayee, are there any actors you want to collaborate with?
There are so many. I wish I could direct Dilip Kumar. I think I started making movies a decade later. If I had started early, I would have worked with him. But I have no regrets. I would have liked to work with Irrfan. There were times when we would talk and go a bit far. But that couldn’t happen.
Then there is Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Also, Shah Rukh Khan. I think Shah Rukh is very underutilized due to his own fame. Sometimes fame limits actors.
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So, yes, there are a lot. I would love to work with Ayushmann, but nothing has worked so far. However, I feel blessed to have worked with Rajkummar and Manoj.
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