Will Not Take the Success of 'Scam 1992' Seriously: Hansal Mehta

Rajkummar Rao, Nushrratt Bharuccha and Hansal Mehta weigh in on making ‘Chhalaang’.

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Directed by Hansal Mehta, Chhalaang is all set for release on Amazon Prime Video on 13 November. The film features Rajkummar Rao, Mohammed Zeeshan, Nushrratt Bharuccha along with Ila Arun, Saurabh Shukla and Satish Kaushik. Chhalaang promises to bring a smile to your face.

According to the makers, Chhalaang is a hilarious, yet inspirational journey of a PT master from a semi government-funded school in Northern India. Montu (Rajkummar Rao) is a PT master for whom it’s just a job. When circumstances put everything that Montu cares for at stake, including Neelu (Nushrratt Bharuccha) who he loves, he is forced to do what he has never done - teach.

The Quint caught up with Rajkummar, Nushrratt and Hansal for a chat on their upcoming release.

Do you still discover new things about each other? You have collaborated on so many projects. But this is a different genre, so probably there were new discoveries.

Rajkummar Rao: Our process remains almost the same. It’s very organic. It’s just being very honest with the characters and the story and that’s what we tend to do with all our films. We’re just sincere makers. But the way we communicate with each other, the way we are with each other in terms of our personal rapport, I think that’s been the same since we met each other for the first time.

But is it important to have a good personal connection when you’re collaborating with people, or for a story you would rather keep that aside?

Hansal Mehta: You know, it helps to have a personal connection but you know the love for what you’re doing keeps you wanting to work together again and again. We’ve developed a strong personal bond over the years, but what keep us going is the love for what we do.

With Scam 1992 doing so well and it’s one of the top rated shows on IMDb, do you feel a sense of pressure?

Hansal Mehta: It has taken many years. While I feel a sense of vindication, I don’t take these things very seriously. What I like and what I enjoy is the fact that the journey doesn’t stop. The day Scam 1992 released, the very next day I was in the post-production of Chhalaang. As long as the work that you do gives you that freedom.

Nushrratt, with you the last popular film we saw was Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. I want to understand from you, how much do you question the director with regards to what trajectory your character is taking because say specifically SKTKS, we did see your character being portrayed as the antagonist and the tropes that we see for women, the stereotyping that we see for women was there in the film.

Nushrratt Bharuccha: I had a book of questions, not just a few questions. Right from Pyaar Ka Punchnama 1 and 2, to SKTKS. You have to still believe you’re doing the right thing. If you think you’re wrong, then that’s the stereotype that you have had in your mind. I could have very easily gone overboard and done a full vamp but that was not the point. Sweety in her head was not wrong. What was wrong in wanting to be with a man who is financially secure? And she wanted herself to be the priority in his life. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just the fact that the film was not seen from Sweety’s point of view.

Of course we are now seeing theatres slowly open up in some parts of the country. Does it let off any pressure from you as makers, as actors? Does it feel more liberating in any sense or box office numbers are something that you look forward to or want it to be a part of the general ecosystem?

Hansal Mehta: You know, I miss the big screen. Watching cinema, the joy of watching films has always been for me about seeing it unfolding on the silver screen. Having said that I think this period has given us the need for introspection. We have been very reductionist in the way we have perceived the success of films, actors, of artistes. OTT has allowed us that new kind of freedom where success is not evaluated purely on one number. Works of art are not something that come on a Friday and die on a Monday. They are a legacy that you leave behind for the world. ‘Shahid’ might not be a 300 crore film, but it’s a film for 300 years. I, for one, would like to be remembered as the man who made ‘Shahid’, no matter how much any of my films would earn. It’s leaving behind an important story for future generations. And yes, producers should make money, make profits, they should have a return investment, that’s their problem. The way people talk right now about box office collection it’s as if their own family jewels were invested in the film.

Video Editor: Veeru Krishan Mohan

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