Rajkumar Hirani has directed just four films so far and each one of them has been a blockbuster hit. His films have packaged a humanist message in an entertaining manner and revived the genre of films with social relevance. Humour, along with an enduring moral have become the trademark characteristics of this talented filmmaker’s movies. Born to Partition refugees in Nagpur, his father ran a typing institute while Raju, as he is commonly known, studied at the St. Frances De’Sales High School and later graduated in commerce. However, his dream was to become an actor and he decided to apply to the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), where he got selected for the editing course as the acting course had been discontinued. Initially he worked in advertising, first as editor and then as producer-director but later joined Vidhu Vinod Chopra on 1942: A Love Story
(1994) and subsequently edited Mission Kashmir
(2000). It was Chopra who backed him to make his debut film Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.
(2003) about a small-time don (Sanjay Dutt) who pretends to be a doctor to please his father (Sunil Dutt). When the father shows up unexpectedly and finds out the truth, he is shattered, forcing Munna to actually join a medical college in order to obtain a degree. Munna and his sidekick Circuit (Arshad Warsi) became quite the rage for their antics and three years later, they returned with Lage Raho Munna Bhai
(2006), a repackaging of Gandhi’s ideology spoken through the lips of a street-wise goon. This film was also a super hit, and won him the Filmfare Award for the Best Story.
Next, the Chopra-Hirani duo decided to adapt Chetan Bhagat’s novel Five Point Someone
as 3 Idiots
(2009), a coming-of-age story set on an engineering college campus where exceptionally gifted Rancho (Aamir Khan) derides his teachers and principal (Boman Irani) for perpetrating the rat race that encourages mindless rote learning. The film paints Rancho as a larger-than-life messiah who transforms the lives of everyone he meets including his friends and the woman he loves (Kareena Kapoor). It went on to smash all kinds of box- office records and remained the highest ever grosser of Hindi cinema for a period of four years. This film also got him the Filmfare Award for the Best Director.
Hirani’s next film P.K. (2014) starring Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput and Sanjay Dutt, which he describes as a ‘satire about god and godmen’, received rave reviews and became the first Indian film to gross 6 billion INR worldwide. He film is the story of an alien who comes to Earth on a research mission. In his attempt to understand humans, he questions religion and superstitions.
He recently produced the Madhavan starrer Saala Khadoos (2016) and is currently filming a biopic on the life of actor Sanjay Dutt.