Rajkumar Hirani has directed just five films so far but each has been a blockbuster hit. His films have tended to package 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 (with the exception of the last one, which was a biopic). Hirani was born in a family of Partition refugees who settled 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) in Pune, where he got selected for the editing course instead as the acting course was discontinued. Initially he worked in advertising, first as editor and then as producer-director, but later he joined filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra on 1942: A Love Story (1994) and subsequently edited Mission Kashmir (2000) as well. It was Chopra who backed Hirani to make his debut film Munna Bhai MBBS (2003), a lovable tale about a small-time gangster (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 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 Hirani the Filmfare award for 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 the exceptionally gifted Rancho (Aamir Khan) gently and humorously derides his teachers and principal (Boman Irani) for perpetrating a 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 grosser of Hindi cinema for four years. This film brought Hirani the Filmfare award for Best Director. Hirani’s next film PK (2014), starring Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput and Sanjay Dutt, has been described by the filmmaker himself as a ‘satire about god and godmen’. Despite the controversy surrounding the subject, the film received rave reviews and became the first Indian film to gross Rs600 crore worldwide. The 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. Hirani thereafter produced the critically acclaimed R Madhavan-starrer Saala Khadoos (2016) after which he made his first biopic, a film on the life of his long-time collaborator and star Sanjay Dutt. This film also entered the Rs300 crore club and won the Filmfare award for Best Actor for star Ranbir Kapoor, who portrayed Sanjay Dutt, and the Filmfare award for Best Supporting Actor for Vicky Kaushal, who portrayed his friend Kamlesh. The film, however, was also panned by many critics for trying to whitewash the many crimes and misdemeanours of Sanjay Dutt and for trying to blame the media for the actor's troubles.