Tale Spinnerhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/tale-spinner/

Tale Spinner

After two gritty and inspiring dramas,Raj Kumar Gupta tells a quirky tale this time around.

After two gritty and inspiring dramas,Raj Kumar Gupta tells a quirky tale this time around.

Seated in his office in Andheri,Mumbai,Raj Kumar Gupta sometimes wonders if he should take up animal husbandry. Coming from a director who has found critical and commercial success in his films,the idea is a tad unsettling. Gupta breaks into a smile and clarifies that he would indulge in it merely as a hobby. “I am happy and content being a filmmaker. It allows me to create a different world each time I make a movie,” he explains.

It is these varying worlds — one often drastically different from the other and yet true to the story the film tries to tell — that have established Gupta firmly in this industry. His debut Aamir (2008) depicted with honesty — uncommon for its time — the life of a doctor and the turmoil and fear he goes through upon realising that he has turned into a tool to carry out terrorist bombings in Mumbai. In 2011,he narrated the story of power,crime and injustice through No One Killed Jessica,based on the high-profile Jessica Lall murder case in Delhi.

Staying true to his penchant for experimenting with different genres,Gupta’s third world comes forth in Ghanchakkar. Set in Mumbai,it is a quirky comedy that revolves around a small-time conman who intends to give up the life of crime for his loving,Punjabi wife. He has co-written the film with Parvez Sheikh. “I was working on my third script,Rapchik Romance,when Parvez,a new writer,came to me with an innovative concept. I saw immense potential in it and decided to make the movie,” says Gupta.

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Apart from direction,casting is another department that Gupta is known to have a grip on. In Aamir,he cast newcomer Rajeev Khandelwal to portray the role of the young Muslim doctor in the lead role. In No One Killed Jessica,he had Vidya Balan essay Jessica’s sister Sabrina Lall while Rani Mukerji was cast as a feisty journalist. “There are many stars who are immensely talented. You need to know your characters well and choose accordingly,” says Gupta. Looking at the promos,he seems to have chosen well again. Emraan Hashmi plays the forgetful conman while Balan is his Punjabi wife.

For a filmmaker associated with dark,gritty films,it is surprising to see him offer a comedy film that perhaps tends towards being a tad loud. “But it is not slapstick,” says Gupta. This is also why he approached Balan and Hashmi for the lead roles. “Both of them haven’t done a comedy and I was sure they wouldn’t go the slapstick way.” While many attribute their pairing in Ghanchakkar to their sizzling chemistry in The Dirty Picture,Gupta clarifies that he signed them much before the film released. “I saw the possibility of good chemistry between the two,” he says.

With each film,Gupta has been reaffirming his position in the industry as a talented storyteller. While his professional circle has grown and life has become far more hectic,the director believes that his personal life has remained the same. He continues to live in the same house in Yari Road and hangs out with same friends.

“This is perhaps the advantage of being from a middle-class family. While you do not get dejected by failures easily,you don’t even take success to your head,” he says.