Raazi entering the Rs 100 crore club came as a surprise to many. In a recent conversation with Indianexpress.com, the founder of the production house Junglee Pictures and Raazi producer Priti Shahani said that the Alia Bhatt starrer’s success has been a great moment for her as a producer.
“I chanced upon Harinder Sikka’s book Calling Sehmat, and was immediately drawn in. I then spoke to Meghna (Gulzar) who was more than happy to collaborate on the project,” said Shahani.
“Raazi has a strong script, and of course, Alia Bhatt is a powerful talent. Her presence certainly helped the film’s case. It prompted more people to turn up for the big screen experience,” Shahani said when asked about Bhatt.
Shahani has previously worked with Raazi director Meghna Gulzar. The two had worked together on the film Talvar. When asked about working with Gulzar, Shahani said, “Meghna and I share a special relationship. It’s her talent and special eye as a filmmaker which helped make both Talvar and Raazi successful movies.”
Incidentally, Shahani has worked with female filmmakers within a relatively short span of a time – Bareilly Ki Barfi’s Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, and with Gulzar on Talvar and Raazi. How has that experience been for her?
“It has been great, of course. But I also must add that it was completely coincidental that those filmmakers belonged to the same gender that I did. Filmmaking is about putting across the best stories forward and I am here to do just that.”
But one cannot help but wonder looking at Talvar, whether the producer had second thoughts about backing the film, considering its controversial topic. To this Shahani responded, “There’s always something at the back of your head when you take on a new project. But I knew that the kind of story we would be presenting on screen would not be biased in any shape or manner. And of course, while we were happy with the kind of response the film received, we never celebrated or threw a party for it for obvious reasons.”
Ask her about whether Junglee only intends to back films with serious and solid content like Raazi and Talvar, Shahani is quick to dismiss the assumption with a laugh.
“No, definitely not. We also want to make those Rs 200 crores. Everyone does. You have to make money to make the kind of movies that appeal to your aesthetic. The point is to entertain and engage the audience.”
Junglee Pictures upcoming projects include an Ayushmann Khurrana family entertainer and a film called Junglee starring Vidyut Jammwal. The latter will be helmed by international director Chuck Russel and its main plot will revolve around elephant poaching.