Rajkumar Hirani, the poster boy of thought-provoking cinema in India, is arguably the most sought after filmmaker in Bollywood with his hundred percent success ratio at the box office with all of his films being the Bollywood grocers – PK, 3 Idiots, Lage Raho Munna Bhai and Munnabhai M.B.B.S. This proud Nagpurian never falls short of words when it comes to attributing his success to his learnings at his hometown Nagpur. In an exclusive interaction with Raju, when Nation Next asked Raju that as a person’s creative work also bears a reflection of the place he belongs to, does Nagpur and its culture reflect in his films, pat came the reply: “Absolutely! I’m of the strong belief that small towns like Nagpur are the best places for children to grow up. Here, you get exposed to people; and stories come from people. In big cities like Mumbai and Delhi, there’s hardly any time left for kids to get exposed to the real world. Whatever you see in my films today is because of my experiences in Nagpur. Stories of my films have their roots in Nagpur. The reason I could make Munnabhai MBBS was because I spent a lot of time with medical students in Nagpur,” said Rajkumar Hirani, elaborating further, “I couldn’t get admission into a medical college but I had a lot of friends studying at Government Medical College, Nagpur. They stayed in the college hostel, where I would spend a lot of time with them. One day, I saw that the ashtray used by my friends looked like a skull. When I said that it was a damn good-looking ashtray, they told me it was a real skull. I couldn’t believe it!
There was a student at Government Medical College, Nagpur, who used to slip Playboy magazines in the rooms of his fellow students to distract them during exams to beat them in competition. I used this story in 3 Idiots. I used to note all these strange things and such experiences became a part of my films. The scene in 3 Idiots, where Madhavan goes to his father and tells him that he doesn’t wish to do engineering, has been borrowed from a similar interaction of mine with my dad. I was studying chartered accountancy and I realised in-between that I wasn’t good at it. I went to my father and told him the same.
Nation Next salutes the maverick filmmaker for putting Nagpur on the national entertainment map! Thank you Raju!