His movies have had political undertones and have often run into some trouble but filmmaker Rahul Dholakia says his intention behind “Raees” was to make a controversy-free film. Dholakia’s film “Parzania”, about a missing boy in Gujarat riots, had to face an unofficial ban in the state owing to its topic during its release.
His follow up film “Lamha” was set in Kashmir and explored the story of an intelligence agent investigating people responsible for the extremist attacks there. “‘Raees’ has got less politics because I wanted to make a non-controversial film,” Dholakia says about the crime- thriller, set in 1980s Gujarat.
“That was a decision I made. The film does have undertones of politics but I thought why fight so much for every film, let’s take a break and do something non-controversial. But I didn’t know it will get into a controversy,” Dholakia said.
The film tells the story of bootlegger Raees Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) whose business is challenged and eventually thwarted by a police officer played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The film, however, did run into a controversy owing to its Pakistani actress Mahira Khan, whose presence in the film was opposed by MNS after the Uri attack.
“You don’t intend to make a controversial film, that’s not the agenda. Who wants it? It’s not worth it with regards to health, money, and risk. But when it becomes controversial, you have to defend your film,” the director says.
Though “Parzania” had to face severe issues, the film eventually bagged the National Award. When asked if one can make a film on politics sans any controversy, Dholakia says, “I doubt. It will be a bit difficult now, especially because of the social media. If you really want to make a political film, just get off social media for sometime. Don’t let that affect you.”
“Raees” is scheduled to release on January 25, exactly a decade after “Prazania” hit the screens on January 26, 2007. “It is an amazing coincidence. When I got to know, I said ‘wow’ this is an uncanny coincidence,” Dholakia said.
The director feels his journey has been good so far but says his only complaint is that he takes too much time to make films. “I take too much time to make my films because I do a lot of research, re-writes. I really enjoyed the journey of ‘Raees’. Somewhere, it is similar to Parzania because the spirit of making it is independent, though it is not an indie film. Everybody is involved in the film.
“While working on Raees, we all became a film just like the cast and crew during Parzania. So the spirit has taken over. Though Raees is a commercial, popular film with punches and all, it retains the spirit with which I began. I feel very satisfied.”