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Today If The Content Is Strong, A Film Will Definitely Work- Pahlaj Nihalani

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Jyothi Venkatesh

After his controversial stint at the Censor Board, producer Pahlaj Nihalani he is back to making films and is giving big screen treatment to the life of businessman Vijay Mallya, for which he is reuniting with Govinda after a long gap. Rangeela Raja, the film inspired by the life style of Dr Mallya has Govinda portraying the liquor baron. In a brief interview we had with Pahlaj Nihalani at the song launch of his film at the Sun N Sand, Pahlaj Nihalani tells us about his ambitious film.

“The film is based on the liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s life and inspired by his lifestyle, the way he handled his business and how he conducted himself as a Parliamentarian. Without doubt, he is a stylish person. He might have done the fraud, but you cannot take away his style. It’s our government’s job to bring him back and my film is the biopic of every person,” says Nihalani

“I felt that Govinda’s talent is being wasted. There are so many other actors like him in the industry who have not been cast in films because there are no more buyers for them. I feel that directors should cast actors on the basis of their talent and not whether they’re saleable or not,” he adds. This is the first time in 25 years that Nihalani is joining hands with Govinda, who was last seen in Aa Gaya Hero. “Govinda’s each film has different style and ideas. In fact, in my film ‘Rangeela Raja’, he has done what no other actor in the industry has done before. It’s his award-winning performance.” 

Pahlaj Nihalani, who has worked with Govinda in films such as Ilzaam, Shola Aur Shabnam and Aankhen, believes that the Hero No. 1 star is an epitome of what is known as a true Bollywood entertainer. Says Pahlaj, “ Govinda is the right choice for today’s cinema because he can make people laugh and cry with equal aplomb. He is a complete actor in the industry who can do anything from drama, comedy to action. He can perform whatever you give him,” he says.

While many think roping in a Bollywood A-lister like Shah Rukh or Salman Khan is sufficient to set the cash registers ringing at the box office, Nihalani believes it is the content that draws viewers to the cinema hall.“Even actors like Shah Rukh and Salman Khan gave flops last year and Raazi has become a super hit. Today, you can’t say that a female-oriented film won’t work. If the content is strong, the film will definitely work. I have always given a break to new girls who eventually became big stars like Neelam, Divya Bharati, Ritu Shivpuri, or Rageshwari”

Rangeela Raja is being directed by Pahlaj’s favorite Sikander Bharati, who is, staging a comeback as a director after a gap of eighteen years. Govinda plays a double role in Rangeela Raja. He plays Walia and sanyasi Baba and both of them live under the same roof. Shakti Kapoor plays the role of the flamboyant Walia’s driver, who is loyal to him through thick and thin. In the film, Govinda has been teamed with not just one leading lady but three of them. They are Digangana Suryavanshi, with whom Govinda was seen in Fry Day earlier, Mishika Chourasia and Anupama Agnihotri, besides of course Shakti Kapoor.

Talking about his association with Govinda, Paghalaj says that while he is like moon, Govinda is like the sun and feels that both of them are made for each other. “I do not forget people who have assisted me in my earlier days, whether it is Shatrughan Sinha, Govinda, Chinni Prakash or for that matter Anees Bazmee or Shiba Mishra. I always consider all of them as my own guys” says Pahlaj.

Pahlaj says that he has never made a film keeping in his mind the budget till date. “When I cast any actor in any film of mine, I do not at all plan the budget. I do not think at all about how I am going to recover whatever I invest in any project of mine. I have always felt that the subject is my hero. My films have been bigger than the films made by Yashji or Subhash ji.

Pahlaj continues. “When I made Love Letter and Shola Aur Shabnam, Govinda’s stars weren’t high and people dissuaded me from investing my money in them but backed me because of my relationship with them. Today the costs have soared high. If I needed only 100 people in my crew say 30 years ago, today I need at least 600 people. Though Govinda had made his debut with Tan Badan, it was my film Aakhri Ilzaam that made Govinda who was a newcomer then, actually taste stardom.”

Whether he was heading the Censor Board earlier or now, Pahlaj says that his films have never had even an iota of vulgarity in them though he had distributed a film like Julie 2 made by Deepak Shivdasani which bombed very badly. “If you remember I made a film called Mitti Aur Sona with Sonam who played a call girl in it. If I did not resort to vulgarity or double entendre dialogues at that time, how can I after being the Censor Board Chairman now resort to vulgarity? I have always believed in nothing else but pure entertainment as a film maker.”

Pahlaj says that today the producers find it tough to survive because the theatre hire system has given way to the percentage system. “Earlier stars like Dharmendra, Sunil Dutt, Sunny Deol etc too faced downfall in their careers but their producers and distributors had confidence in them. Sadly today Ajay Bijli of PVR Cinemas is bigger than Salman Khan or Shah Rukh Khan or any of the distributors who back films because he is controlling the cinemas”.

What is Pahlaj’s viewpoint on the Me Too campaign which is very prevalent in Bollywood?  “If a person is trapped in the Me Too Smear campaign, automatically his family too gets affected in the process”.

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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Pahlaj Nihalani, Rangeela Raja, Interview

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