Director Rajkumar Hirani borrows his first name from Rajkumar Commerce Institute, his father’s typing institute. The filmmaker talks about his humble beginnings in the latest book — 3 Idiots: The Original Screenplay.
His father Suresh Hirani migrated to India during the partition and, having lost all his possessions, started working in a bangle factory, moving on to selling ice-cream and finally, opening a typewriting institute.
“My father christened it Rajkumar Commerce Institute. I was not even born then... I was named after a typewriting institute and not the other way round! I am proud of that fact,” Hirani says. He was also expected to take up engineering, but he could not fetch enough marks in his class 12 exams. He took up commerce instead and enrolled for chartered accountancy, which he despised: “I had the baggage of the engineering debacle on my head, so abandoning this would have appeared self-indulgent and foolish.”
But Hirani decided to leave the course and mustered the courage to tell his father; a situation similar to the 3 Idiots scene, when Farhan (R Madhavan) informs his father that he wants to pursue photography instead of studying engineering. But unlike Farhan, Hirani had no future plan.
“My father was standing alone in the living room. My throat was dry with fear. It was one thing to tell your father that you did not want to pursue what seemed like an excellent career choice, but it was another thing to not offer an alternative plan,” Hirani recalls. So what did his father have to say? “He looked at me and, in the most nonchalant manner, told me to not do it,” Hirani says.