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LIFFT India's Lifetime Achievement award means a lot to me, says filmmaker Rahul Rawail

The filmmaker also revealed that he was once very serious about becoming a nuclear scientist.

Rahul Rawail accepting the award from film, television and theatre personality Dolly Thakore. Photo: LIFFT India Filmotsav

Keyur Seta

Filmmaker Rahul Rawail was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award at the LIFFT India Filmotsav in Lonavala on Thursday for his contribution to Hindi cinema.

During a conversation with Cinestaan.com later, asked for his reaction to the honour, Rawail said, “It means a lot to me. Actually every award means a lot to me. More so yesterday’s, because it has come from a lot of people I know within the industry.”

Over the years, Rahul Rawail has helmed a number of hit films like Kumar Gaurav's debut Love Story (1981), Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh's debut Betaab (1983), Arjun (1985), Dacait (1987), and Yodha (1991). Apart from these artistes, he also launched stars like Kajol (Bekhudi, 1992) and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (...Aur Pyar Ho Gaya, 1997).

Last evening, after receiving the award, Rawail revealed that he was once interested in pursuing science. “When I passed out of school, I wanted to go to Canada to pursue a course in nuclear physics," he said. "I had no intention of coming into the industry. Though Dad was keen that I should get into films some day, I wasn't initially.”

Rahul's father Harnam Singh Rawail, better known simply as HS Rawail, was a filmmaker who was active from the 1940s through the 1970s. Some of his famous films were Mere Mehboob (1963), Sunghursh (1968), Mehboob Ki Mehndi (1971) and Laila Majnu (1976).

Rahul Rawail only became inclined towards films after school friend Rishi Kapoor, who later played the lead in his father’s Laila Majnu, asked him to spend a day on the sets of Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker (1970). “I went across just for a day," Rawail recalled. "That’s when I saw Raj Kapoor saheb working. I think that one day twisted my whole life around. I wish I were a nuclear physicist. But it [life] has been good. I am not complaining.”

The filmmaker minced no words during the award ceremony when speaking against the high prices of tickets and snacks at multiplexes and certain practices in the film industry.

Later, he said, “I am fearless. I am not scared.” He believes that prominent names from the film industry are shying away from speaking out on these issues because they don’t want their films to get into trouble.

Rawail admitted he wasn’t aware of the LIFFT India Filmotsav until this year. Asked about his experience at the festival, he said, “I am finding it very interesting. I like the atmosphere here and the kind of films shown. It is giving an opportunity [to the audience] to see more. I hope it carries on. I am going to tell [festival organizer] Riju [Bajaj] to make sure it grows further.”