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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Hansal Mehta: Wanted to shift gears with Chhalaang

Filmmaker Hansal Mehta on the breezy nature of his upcoming directorial Chhalaang, his many collaborations with Rajkummar Rao and the role of OTT platforms in introducing new forms of content.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: November 9, 2020 3:19:53 pm
hansal mehta chhalaangHansal Mehta's Chhalaang stars Rajkummar Rao and Nushrratt Bharuccha. (Photo: PR Handout)

After delivering the thoroughly engaging web series Scam 1992, director Hansal Mehta will soon be back in audience’s homes with yet another entertainer, Chhalaang. The film, due to release on November 13 on Amazon Prime Video, appears to be a light-hearted affair. While that might be the norm for others, for Mehta, the movie has been “a leap of faith.”

In a conversation with indianexpress.com, Hansal Mehta spoke about the breezy nature of his upcoming directorial, his many collaborations with Rajkummar Rao and the role of OTT platforms in introducing new forms of content.

Talking about Chhalaang, Mehta shared that much like what we can see in the trailer, Chhalaang is a “breezy, sweet, slice of life film” that has “generous dollops of humour.” The movie follows the character of Rajkummar Rao, a Physical Training teacher in Haryana. Though Mehta described the film as a “breezy entertainer,” he also called it a “journey of self-discovery” for Rao’s character. For Mehta, this is his sixth collaboration with Rajkummar Rao, and the director shared that they “come together and work together because we love what we do.”

Chhalaang is a Diwali release but now, during the pandemic, that traditional short-hand for the big-money weekend has acquired a new meaning. A Diwali release on an OTT platform is another way to get the audience to sit together with their family, and in that respect, Chhalaang has the perfect timing. “It is a family entertainer,” and for Hansal Mehta, that’s a first. The Omerta director shared that Chhalaang “would have been great fun with the collective viewing experience (in a theatre)” and he is “nervous and excited” for his first family film.

Mehta, known for films like Citylights and Aligarh, shared that working on the “breezy” Chhalaang was like a “detour” for him. The movie appears to be a love-triangle and has been co-written by Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety director Luv Ranjan. While Mehta’s past work has been of a different kind, with Chhalaang, he shared that he “wanted to shift gears for once. The attempt is to do something new, to surprise yourself, challenge yourself.”

With Scam 1992, Hansal Mehta received praise from critics as well as the audience and the director humbly accepted that he feels “blessed that at this very difficult time, the audience is responding so positively to the work that we are doing.” Talking about the boon of OTT platforms, the director shared that long-format storytelling has been quite a blessing for content creators as they can explore the characters and story in greater depth. He joyfully admitted, “With Scam 1992, we have been able to tell an unusual story and enjoy unprecedented success.”

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