Critics either love or hate Aanand L Rai’s unconventional love story Atrangi Re. He says it is okay with divided views. “As long as no one is indifferent to this, I’m fine. When I started making this film I did not think about how people would react. I never do. I can not commit to expectations, my own or others. I have to do what I have to do. I had to make a movie about this girl who can not be forced to comply. Most of the time, I wanted to make a father-daughter movie. “When my writer Himanshu Sharma came up with the idea, I knew I had to make this film.”
As Rinku, Sara Ali Khan is everywhere. And so Anand wanted it. “I wanted this uncontrollable personality. That’s why she was cast. I must say that it was an enjoyable experience to work with her and with Akshay Kumar and Dhanush who are very easily one of the best talents in Indian cinema. By the way, I did not know that Rinku was the nickname of Sara’s grandmother, Sharmila Tagore ji. Sarah told me during filming. “They kicked her a lot for that.”
I suspect Aanand wrote Dhanush’s character as Tamilian to host Dhanush?
Aanand can not stop singing the praise of Dhanush and Akshay Kumar. “Dhanush is a miracle of nature. What he has brought Atrangi Re is beyond anything I expected. As for Akshay, you know, like me, he does not think of himself. He only thinks about the movie. I did not have to convince him to do the role. He wanted to be a part of it Atrangi Re. I wanted a certain magic in the character he played. “Akshay brought that magic.”
People are wondering how and why Aanad showed abduction of a groom in Bihar in the now-defunct era. Anand says in his defense: “But where did I say that my film is playing today? My movies never follow a schedule. In my film the kidnapping of the groom and what follows, happens. This is the world I wanted to create with my writer Himanshu Sharma. You may have creative and historical confrontations with my world. But I think discussion is a healthy part of any creative endeavor. I’m glad that people are talking Atrangi Re, Good or bad. “I would be worried if they had nothing to say.”
The film deals with the very serious issue of schizophrenia. And yet this word is not mentioned anywhere. Anand says he wanted it that way. “If as you say it is schizophrenia (from which one of the protagonists suffers) then the people around her do not recognize her by that name. Her grandmother, played by Seema Biswas, calls it madness. The film’s characters have probably never heard of schizophrenia. I wanted it to be that way. Early when I had just started shooting Atrangi Re I showed some haste to a friend who laughed and cried. He confessed that he felt guilty laughing at a character’s mental disorder. But laughter is not meant to take away from the seriousness of the situation. It aims to remove the sting from the tragedy. “
As for the accusations of degrading mental disorder, Aanand shrugs, “I’m used to such accusations. When my Raanjhanaa was released I was accused of legitimizing the persecution. These things do not bother me. I will not stop making the movies I want. I will not live in fear of failure. For half my life I was scared. I’m not going to be afraid as a filmmaker. I want to make the films that will be discussed a lot after I leave “.
In its final credits Atrangi Re Aanad paid tribute to his AR Rahman team members, Irshad Kaamil, (cinematographer) Pankaj Kumar, (editor) Hemal Kothari and writer Himasnhu Sharma, Atrangi Re as their movie?
Aanand says he did not design this as a ploy to impress the public with how generous he was. “I really feel like the movie could not have been made without them. Rahman Sir’s music takes my film to the next level. I told him that I did not want single songs that would go up in the charts. I wanted a soundtrack album where the music and songs would promote the story.
Any regrets for Atrangi Re Can’t you go to the movies? “Of course I wanted him to come out in the halls. That’s where Atrangi Re belongs. That said, I do not think there was a choice in the matter. “The OTT platform does not diminish the impact of my film.”
Read also: EXCLUSIVE: “Sara Ali Khan is a very greedy actress, while Dhanush is a delight for every director,” says Atrangi Re director Aanand L Rai.
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