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Bollywood filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani turns 61 today. Hirani is one of the few directors who has only hit films in his credit. Films like Munnabhai MBBS, Sanju, PK, 3 Idiots have been made under his direction. He is also one of the richest directors of Bollywood. Hirani’s total net worth is around Rs 1400 crore.
He has directed 5 films so far and all have been hits. His sixth film as a director is ‘Danky’ which will be released on December 21, 2023. Shahrukh Khan will be seen in the film, whose two films this year have proved to be blockbusters.
In such a situation, considering Hirani’s track record and Shahrukh’s current success, Dunky is also being predicted to be a superhit. Before Dunky, Shahrukh had rejected two films of Rajkumar Hirani, but when Downfall came, he himself asked for work from Hirani and then ‘Dinky’ was made.
How Hirani became Bollywood’s top director from a film editor, know some interesting stories related to his life on his birthday…
Did not get admission in direction course
Rajkumar Hirani was born on 20 November 1962 in Nagpur, Maharashtra. His father Suresh Hirani ran a typing institute in Nagpur. Rajkumar Hirani did his schooling in Nagpur and then graduated in commerce. After graduation, Rajkumar’s uncle decided to make him a chartered accountant. Frightened by the idea of becoming a CA, the prince went to his father. Father said ‘Don’t do it, do only what you want’.
Rajkumar Hirani wanted to become an actor but could not succeed in it.
Rajkumar then told him that he wanted to work in films, but did not know how to start. Father’s answer was – First learn about films, prepare yourself, then take entry. Rajkumar Hirani applied for a direction course at the Film and Television Institute of Pune but failed.
This failure turned him towards studying law. This was that period of his life when he was clueless, directionless and wondering what he was doing with his life. The good thing was that he did not leave the theatre. Some more time passed, someone told him that admission in the direction course in the Film Institute is difficult, but admission in the editing course can be done. This time I gave the exam with full preparation and got admission.
Impressed with a five minute short film
Rajkumar believes that in the three years of the Film Institute, he learned to think from a new perspective. He had started looking at things differently and was learning cinema. In these three years, he only talked about films, watched films and read about films.
During the course, he made a five-minute short film based on a story by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov which was shown to some professors and students. While returning to the hostel, when he heard praise for his film, he still doesn’t forget that moment.
Recalling that moment, Rajkumar had said in an interview, ‘I was very happy, I cannot describe that feeling. This moment changed me forever. It was at this time that I realized that I would follow my passion, not money. Now I wanted to work only because I would get pleasure from it. Earlier his thinking was that he had to make a career so that he could earn money and fame.
He definitely regretted that he could not learn story telling and script writing in the Film Institute. He learned this while making an ad film after leaving FTII.
Rs 1200 Worked for a month, became editor
Rajkumar Hirani, who reached Mumbai around 1990 after completing his studies, faced a lot of difficulty in finding work. I used to get work once in four-five months which would pay one thousand-fifteen hundred rupees. With the intention of increasing his contacts, he took up the job of editor in a studio at a monthly salary of Rs 1200.
After just five months, he started freelancing with confidence. He was a good editor and now his understanding of direction was also improving his work. He knew how to film emotional and comedy scenes well. A fun corporate film ‘Dilwale Annapurna Le Jayenge’ made by him gave him a lot of recognition.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra said after seeing the editing – you should make films
He once got a chance to edit the promos of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s film ‘1942 A Love Story’. When Chopra’s editor fell ill during the editing of ‘Mission Kashmir’, he remembered Rajkumar Hirani. While starting this work, Rajkumar Hirani had thought that this work would be for some time, it would be completed and he would return to his place but this did not happen.
He had a lot of fun while editing and Chopra also kept saying that he should make a film. The work continued for five months and after this Rajkumar decided that he would not work for the next six months. He wanted to give this time to a script whose story was brewing inside him for ten years. This work was completed in nine months.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra liked it and agreed to become its producer. In this way, ‘Munnabhai MBBS’ started being made after about two years. When the film was released in 2003, it was well received. Sanjay Dutt’s Jadoo Ki Jhappi as Munnabhai brought a flurry of awards for Hirani.
‘Munnabhai MBBS’ was a hit and its sequel ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ came. This series was such a hit that even today its third episode is awaited. The success of ‘Three Idiots’ and ‘PK’ gave Rajkumar Hirani a different status. Then ‘Sanju’ became a hit.
Aamir Khan and Rajkumar Hirani on the sets of the film ‘PK’.
The special thing about the films made by Rajkumar Hirani is that he makes only happy films. Regarding this, he had said in an interview, ‘I make only those films which I like to watch. The stories are simple and come from my heart. ‘3 Idiots’ was also not a unique story. It was about three friends and college. ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ was unique in that it had a historical (Gandhi) and a fictional character (Munna). Such a film was not made even in Hollywood. ‘PK’ is a similar story. Such a character and life have never been seen anywhere before.
Rishi Kapoor held Hirani’s mother’s feet
Sanju, released in 2018, is counted among the most successful films of Rajkumar Hirani. Ranbir Kapoor played the role of Sanjay Dutt in this film. Ranbir had shared an interesting anecdote of working with Hirani in an interview.
Ranbir had told that in 2006, when Rajkumar Hirani’s second film Lage Raho Munnabhai was released, Rishi Kapoor liked the film so much that once he met Hirani’s mother, he held her feet and said, your The son is a genius, I hope that someday he will definitely work with my son.
Rajkumar Hirani with Ranbir Kapoor during the shooting of the film ‘Sanju’.
This opportunity came in 2014 when Ranbir was seen doing a cameo in Hirani’s film PK. After this Hirani cast him in the film Sanju. Ranbir’s acting in the film was highly praised. The film had collected approximately Rs 500 crore.
Aamir had rejected ‘Sanju’
In an interview, Aamir Khan himself had told that Rajkumar Hirani had come to offer him the role of Sunil Dutt in the film Sanju but he had refused to do it. Actually, Aamir heard the script of the film in which he liked the role of Sanjay Dutt. Aamir wanted to play the role of Sanjay but Hirani had already cast Ranbir. Then Aamir said that he would not be able to do any other role in the film and in such a situation, the role of Sunil Dutt was again played by Paresh Rawal.
The budget of ‘Dinky’, directed by Rajkumar Hirani, is Rs 100 crore.
Shahrukh rejected Hirani’s offer twice
Shahrukh Khan will be seen in Rajkumar Hirani’s next film Dunky. According to media reports, when Shahrukh’s career was on downfall after Zero, he himself went to Hirani to ask for work. After this Hirani took him into custody.
By the way, when Hirani was making Munnabhai MBBS, he first offered the lead role to Shahrukh but he rejected it. After this, Hirani waited for him for a year but when Shahrukh did not agree, he gave this role to Sanjay Dutt and the film proved to be a huge hit.
After this, Hirani once again approached Shahrukh for the lead role in the film 3 Idiots but even then things did not work out. Shahrukh once again rejected his film, after which this role went to Aamir and the film was a blockbuster.
Rajkumar Hirani with wife Manjeet and son Veer.
Hirani is one of the richest directors
Rajkumar Hirani is second among the richest directors of Hindi film industry. Karan Johar is at number one with a net worth of Rs 1500 crore while Hirani’s net worth is approximately Rs 1416 crore. He charges around Rs 15 crores for directing a film.
Hirani owns a house in Navi Mumbai area of Mumbai which is worth Rs 15 crore. Apart from this, he has also invested in real estate in many other cities. He also has luxury cars like Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Jaguar.
Talking about personal life, in 1994, Rajkumar Hirani married Manjeet, who was a pilot in Air India. Both of them have a son named Veer Hirani. Veer is also learning filmmaking.