After Newton, Mukkabaaz is one film to have done a box office turn-around. Producer Aanand L Rai, a common factor in both projects, says when the intention is right, success is the reward.
Anurag Kashyap directorial Mukkaabaaz is a small town boxer’s love story, and as per trade experts, it is picking up business gradually.
Rai seems to have hit the right formula on how to make successes out of small-budgeted out-of-the-box films. His journey as a producer started with “Nil Battey Sannata” in 2016, a straightforward film on female literacy which hit home. It was followed by Happy Bhag Jayegi, a romantic comedy on a runaway bride who lands up in Pakistan.
Questioned about the success, he modestly shrugs off all credit.
“I guess somewhere the filmmaker’s ‘neeyat’ — his intention — is bound to make an impression on the audience. I sincerely believe that if a filmmaker does his job well, he will be rewarded with success,” Rai said.
“As a director when I tried something very different within the commercial framework in ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ and ‘Raanjhanaa’, I was warned against taking a risk by signing R. Madhavan and Dhanush in the lead. Big names in the south, but more importantly, fabulous actors. To me, it didn’t matter which language they worked in. It was their talent, not their cultural identity that carried them forward,” he added.
If Rai’s gambit as a director has worked, as a producer he took even bigger risks by agreeing to back projects with new/unsuccessful directors Ashwini Iyer Tiwari (Nil Battey Sannata), Mudassar Aziz (Happy Bhaag Jayegi), R Prasanna (Shubh Mangal Saavdhan) , and now Anurag Kashyap (Mukaabaaz), who hasn’t had a box office success in a long time.
“This is a new Anurag Kashyap that audiences see in ‘Mukkaabaaz’. I firmly believe in the power of cinema to move audiences. Anurag has made a moving film. And the actor Vineet Kumar has slogged like a crazy man for his character. Vineet was disheartened when the film opened low.
“I told him to hang on. I was confident about the film,” said Rai, who is currently directing Shah Rukh Khan in Zero.
The director is confident about bringing a new twist to the superstar’s career.
“This will be a Shah Rukh Khan that audiences haven’t seen as yet,” he said.