Four years of Raanjhnaa: Aanand L Rai knew Dhanush would connect with the audience | bollywood | Hindustan Times
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Four years of Raanjhnaa: Aanand L Rai knew Dhanush would connect with the audience

Director Aanand L Rai introduced Dhanush to Bollywood with his small-town tale, Raanjhnaa, and he had complete faith in the southern star’s capability.

bollywood Updated: Jun 21, 2017 12:42 IST
Yashika Mathur
Director Aanand L Rai talks about making Raanjhnaa and how it changed him as a person.
Director Aanand L Rai talks about making Raanjhnaa and how it changed him as a person.

After the success of Tanu Weds Manu (2011), there was perhaps a lot of pressure on director Aanand L Rai to deliver another hit. The filmmaker confesses that the success of Raanjhana, which completes four years today, not only made him a confident person, but a fearless director as well.

“During Raanjhana, I was at a point in my career when I felt blessed and did not fear at all. I wanted to see the person in me growing. Nobody was stopping me from what I wanted. Making Raanjhnaa was a necessity for me. After this film I became a more fearless person, not just a more confident director. Taking the call of making the film with Dhanush (actor) or approaching AR Rahman sir to make the music, was the need of my story,” says Rai, whose film, which talked of a simple Hindu boy (Dhanush) in Banaras falling in love with a Muslim girl (Sonam Kapoor), became a mass hit.

A movie still from the film Raanjhnaa.

Recalling an incident that gave him the confidence that his film was going in the right direction, Rai says, “ On my first day of shoot in Banaras, a lot of people were following us and gathered around our location. Soon, there were some 2000 people on the terraces and balconies around us. For a minute, Dhanush and Sonam thought it would be very difficult to shoot with so much crowd around.”

Rai is talking about the scene where Dhanush’s character, Kundan, gets slapped by Sonam for holding her hand and as an unexpected response, he starts dancing in the middle of the road.

“Kundan started dancing on the road after getting slapped and the moment I said ‘cut’, those 2000 people started clapping. That was Day 1 and I told my team, ‘Yaar ye reaction dekha. Hum mein se koi expect kar raha tha? Ye Kundan connect kar raha hai crowd se. Nobody can stop him from reaching his audience’,” he says.

Talking about how Sonam excelled in the role as a simple girl from a small town, who held a silent pride in having a lover like Kundan, Rai says that it was her hunger as an actor which made Sonam pull it off.

“I needed someone who had pride in herself and who also understood the middle class very well. I knew as Anil Kapoor and Sunita’s daughter she was brought up in a certain way, and she also had the hunger of an actor - it was a rare combination. She was hungry at that time and wanted to break out of the tag of a fashionista, who was always out there in great clothes. She wanted to come out and play a real character and that helped me bring out her character really well,” says Rai.

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