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Exclusive: Producer Dinesh Vijan on why small-towns are big in Hindi cinema


Producer Dinesh Vijan seems to have discovered a success mantra. His films, from Hindi Medium, Luka Chuppi revolve around contemporary issues of love, relationships, parenting, education but are set in small-towns. Even for the spooky tale like Stree, he ditched the huge mansion and ghosts in flowing gowns for the earthy township of Chanderi with its ancient structures. He sums up the slant in his recent productions saying, “Now it’s stories about India, for India and by India…”. With Roohi, Munjha, Ekkis, Shiddat and an untitled comedy coming up, the hotshot producer is keen to give the ringside view of the bylanes of evolving India…

Setting your films in small-towns seems to be your style. Even a bold topic like a live-in relationship in Luka Chuppi was set in a small town…

I genuinely believe those are the big towns. We have become smaller-towns – the way we’re living in cities. Honestly, the new India is no longer a small-town. We shot Stree in Chanderi (Madhya Pradesh). There’s a small theatre there. Amar (Kaushik, director of Stree) went back to screen Stree there. With the advent of the digital medium and the reach of cinemas, small towns are evolving organically. Whether Stree or Luka Chuppi (was set in Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh and Mathura in Uttar Pradesh), they just happened to be set in those smaller cities. Earlier, we used to go abroad to shoot because of the whole ‘Western influence’. But today, it’s more about stories. Now it’s stories about India, for India and by India. In Angrezi Medium, we blended both the worlds. We even went abroad and showed the fascination we have for London. Having said that, you can’t just sell a film based in a small-town. It has to have substance.

Please tell us about your film with Kriti Sanon and Rajkummar Rao…

As of now, I can’t reveal more details. But yes, we’re making a film with Paresh (Rawal) sir, Dimple (Kapadia) ma’am, Kriti (Sanon) and Rajkummar (Rao). It’s based in Delhi. Kriti and Rajkummar adopt old people and their life becomes hellish. The comedy is done in a subtle manner. I believe Rajkummar is unbelievable with comedy. You see him in Roohi. He’s hit the ball out of the park.


Dinesh Vijan


When will you be directing again?

Not for a while. Raabta (Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon starrer) taught me a lot. It taught me that story is the most important thing. Even this year, our film Love Aaj Kal didn’t do well. Maybe, because we picked the wrong story. If that goes wrong, everything else can be great but it won’t matter. The story has to be relatable. For a director your film becomes like your mashooka (beloved). You can’t see anything wrong with it. My job is to show the director what’s wrong with their story. So as of now, I am concentrating in telling stories as a team and as a producer. The director in me has to wait for the right time.


Will Angrezi Medium have another part?

It all depends on Irrfan (Khan) saab.

 


Dinesh Vijan