With just 5 films under his belt in a career of 15 years, Rajkumar Hirani is the most successful director in the Indian film industry by percentage, considering all his films have been commercially very successful (block busters in fact) and highly appreciated by audience of all ages, and artists of all groups as well. His success story is truly inspiring, and so his personality, with a gentle facade while mind calculating witty comebacks every second (this from his interview at Koffee with Karan). Since he has done only 5 films it’s easy to take a look at each of his presentation on the silver screen.
In increasing order of brilliance
Lage Raho Munnabhai (2007)
Lage raho Munnabhai was the sequel to his first movie and second venture of him. The film was received very positively by the audience and especially lauded for breathing fresh air in the Gandhian ideology. Technically the movie had some very brilliant moments, a decent storyline, good performances and an overall feel-good aura. But the movie lacks a very strong performance from any of the actors, with maybe exception of Boman Irani. Still the movie is fairly entertaining, and a good way to spend your Sunday with family.
The fourth movie of the director, at this point Rajkumar Hirani must have become too confident with his success, because somehow this movie smells of overconfidence for some reason. The movie was the first one to not receive complete acceptance by the public, being accused of hurting religious sentiments. It was uncanny however that Hirani managed to distance himself from the controversies despite being basically the progenitor of it. Technically, this movie too had its brilliant moments, but falls shorter on comedic value than others. However, Aamir Khan pulled off a great performance in this one, which redeems the movie.
The latest movie of the director is a biography on one of his closest friends and coworker, Sanjay Dutt. Easily the biggest gamble of his career, Sanju is still running in theaters successfully, thus making Rajkumar Hirani the winner. Casting Ranbir Kapoor as the lead paid him off extremely well, as the actor is garnering praises from all around. The movie also has very strong performances from Paresh Rawal and Vicky Kaushal, and is entertaining and binds you throughout. Although Rajkumar Hirani has been accused of being highly biased about Dutt’s life and whitewashing his otherwise infamous persona, the movie is still a winner because of strong performances and direction.
Munnabhai M.B.B.S. (2003)
First movie of Rajkumar Hirani was also the most typical work of him surprisingly. Right off the bat the movie makes us glued to the screen by the clever kidnapping scene, and the movie only rides on higher waves from there. Witty direction, emotional highs, cliche breaking characters and memorable performances by Dutt, Warsi and especially Boman Irani (who shot to fame with this movie). Film has a weaker second half, but overall the film is still a gem for the industry.
The most successful movie of the auteur is also his very best, and perhaps the most influential movie on the masses in the recent era. From the beginning to the end the film has no dull moments, and every rewatch introduces the public to a new joke, especially to those who watched it in the theaters because of the raucous laughter. Clever direction, witty humor, emotional highs like all the other movies of Hirani, just better than the rest. The movie also has a better written story, although the ugly spat eith Chetam Bhagat was a bit sad. Bonus was the great cinematography and art direction of the film. Strong performances from Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi and Kareena Kapoor were noticed as well. All in all, 3 Idiots was the movie which made Rajkumar Hirani such a big deal..
What can we expect from him in the future – Rajkumar Hirani has become synonymous to Midas in the Indian film industry, with a 100 percent success rate. So many more blockbusters are expected ahead of him. But the director is yet to churn out a drama which brings him out of his comfort zone. Only then he could be ranked among the greatest. If not, he’ll still be the best in his world.