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“Size of Shah Rukh Khan is not the USP of Zero” – Aanand L Rai

Aanand L Rai in a no holds barred exclusive with Bollywood Hungama‘s Faridoon Shahryar spoke at length about Shah Rukh Khan starrer Zero. Rai shared about his past where he encountered failure and how the quest for simple story telling became his ambition in life.

Sir, ZERO is your most ambitious project and there are lots of speculations around the film, there are a lot of people who are hoping ,within film industry, that ZERO will revive Shah Rukh Khan’s fortune as superstar because of the fact that you are behind it. 

I have not thought so much. The only thing I know is that, 2007 and 2008, just ten years back, I can see that with couple of failures, I had hit the bottom. But again, like I said, what comes into play and what saves you is the kind of person you are by nature. I have been very happy and calm guy in my life. Main zyada ambitious nahi hoon aur mujhe khud ko lekar koi galat fehmi nahi hai. So, jab maine bottom hit kiya tha, mujhe laga tha meri samajh itni hi hai and I will survive, I will do something joh mere liye correct hai. I have reasons to make films. Aur mere ye samajh aa gaya tha ki is failure ka reason kya hai. I think, at that point, I was trying to prove to this industry and my audience that I know my direction. Mujhe aata hai. Main director hoon, which was wrong in my case. Mujhe uss waqt bas ek hi baat samajh mein aayi thi. I understood that I am here not to impress people, I am here to tell a story. But the most important thing that I got hold of is tell your story fearlessly.  And trust me Faridoon, wo main nahi tha. Main kabhi bhi fearless nahi tha life mein. And, I started enjoying my life as a story teller. I thought joh hoga wo dekha jayega. I have already hit the bottom, isse niche ab kaha jaunga?

So when I was making Tanu Weds Manu, the only new ingredient in me was this fearless story teller and from there point till now, main wo nahi chhodta kabhi. I am holding onto this. I have to be fearless while telling a story. And I am not here to impress and show, dekho meri filmmaking kya hai, bilkul bhi nahi. Meri bas kahani sunn lo bass.  That’s what I am trying to do. My communication with my audience is just come and listen to the story.  Na isse jyada maang raha hoon, na isse kam. I will be very honest while telling a story. Good, Bad, Ugly, you decide. But I am giving my soul to it and that’s one thing I do whenever I get down on floor. The only thing I pray to God is that only thing that should be in me is that purity. As a person you can do anything. Main apne liye kuch bhi maang sakta hu lekin main apne director ke liye itna hi mangta hu ki yaar when you are telling a story or when you are communicating with your character, just stay pure. Because wahi hai joh tujhe fearless rakh sakta hai. Aur issliye when heavy weight like Zero’s happening to me, till you talk to me or somebody else tells me, then only I feel pressure of  ki isse mujhe kya karna hai. Mujhe abhi bhi Faridoon, I don’t want to do anything but just tell a story. ZERO is a story for me. I have to be at my purest best that I am trying to do and nothing more or less than this ke main apne audience ke pass kahani aise leke jaunga and please kahani sunn lo. That’s it. I am taking no other pressure.

Alright, and I believe you guys would like to show your film to Kamal Hasan sahib as well.

Yes, I also read this but definitely bilkul dikhana chahenge.

In fact, when I spoke to him, then I had mentioned it because he has been a part of an iconic film (Appu Raja) and he said he would love to watch it because he is also very fond of Shah Rukh as well. They both worked together in the past in Hey Ram.  So how’s the entire journey been for you? Teaser has been extremelywell received, that Eid teaser. I thought it was very entertaining and Javed Jaffrey’s voice over was outstanding.

Yes, he (Javed Jaffrey) has contributed to it very brilliantly. Yeh aisa nahi ki ye unhe diya gaya aur unhone kiya. He actually worked on it. Aisa nahi ki bol diya. No. He came up with ki what you want from it and he actually worked on it. He brought few lines and nuances ‘ki isko aise kar lete hai aur isko aise.’ And he understood what we were trying to expect  from this. Aur hamara reason yahi tha as a team ki that this thing of dwarf ki ye aajaye. Yeh iss tarike se dikhate hai. When we spoke about Kamal sir, I think what he did was, that time making a film like this, it’s remarkable. Unke pass to VFX bhi nahi tha. Aur mera yeh hai ki again, I don’t want to make the film ki see the size of Shah Rukh Khan, that’s not the USP. You have to wait for it to see him there on the screen. His (SRK) contribution to the story or the character is not ki unhone ye height accept ki. He is in so much as an actor, its remarkable. Shah Rukh Sir has brought some magic to it.


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