Rajkumar Hirani, the man behind films like Munnabhai series, 3 Idiots and PK is one filmmaker who brings pure cinematic excellence to the Indian screens. Not only are his films a delight to watch owing to their perfectly humourous settings — ‘gangster in medical school’ or ‘gangster meets Gandhi’ or ‘alien learns religion’, but they also serve strong social messages through the plot.
Considering the present situation of the Indian film industry, a director like Rajkumar Hirani becomes all the more important. Because right now, there are two kinds of films being churned out. One, the quintessential comedies like Judwaa 2 or Golmaal Again that cash in on the audiences’ demand for ‘masala’ entertainers and second, films like Newton, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan that attract crowds with their quality content.
But long before this debate started, Rajkumar Hirani came with his debut project Munna Bhai MBBS in 2003. This was the time when Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi weren’t the most bankable actors in Bollywood’s universe but Raju’s inventive ideas found favour with the audiences. Somewhere between Sanju baba’s catchy one-liners and his funny antics in a medical school and Munna’s struggles to excel as a doctor, the film found its perfect balance.
Later in 2006, came its sequel Lage Raho Munnabhai. And while Munna and Circuit recreated their magic, what took the audience by surprise this time was the movie’s core which highlighted the essence of Gandhism. After another three years, Raju carried the weight of a blockbuster-maker. And making 3 Idiots with the maverick Aamir Khan came with a lot of baggage. But Rajkumar being Rajkumar again delivered another mighty success. 3 Idiots went on to become a record-breaker on its own — at the time the highest-grossing Indian film ever.
And with his 2014 PK, Rajkumar brilliantly probed a relatively unexplored genre, a satirical comedy about a humanoid alien who comes to Earth on a research mission, questioning religious dogmas and religion in general. Now, Rajkumar is working on a biopic on Sanjay Dutt and the third instalment of the Munnabhai series, and we have our hopes up.