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Anand L Rai of ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ and ‘Raanjhanaa’ fame is now donning the role of a producer. He produced the recently released film ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’, which stars Ayushmaan Khurana and Bhumi Pednekar. In an exclusive interview, Anand shares his tryst with cinema, his production house and teaming up  with Shah Rukh Khan for his upcoming film.

Excerpts:

What is the difference between directing and producing?
In little sense, it is different but I have managed it to keep it simple for me. I am basically a hardcore director and I am not a producer. I started producing for only one reason so that I can direct better because I understand the economics of my film better than anybody else and I created this production house for myself so that I can direct and make films in right economics. But once it was done, by God's grace all went well, and this production house is set now. I decided to use this platform for other directors or like-minded directors so that I can make their  journey little easier too. I function like a friend with them (directors) and not like a producer. It’s like a small family, a unit which is expanding now with directors coming in.

How did you realise that the Tamil film ‘Kalyana Samayal Saadham’ will also work in Bollywood?
I liked the idea and then Prasanna (Director) and I were very clear with the concept. Prasanna showed a lot of patience say for nearly two years to come out with this script which was right for the Hindi audience.

Tell us about casting Ayushman and Bhumi in the film.
They have a great chemistry which we all saw in ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’. However, we did not cast them for this reason. But I can say that they have recreated the same chemistry for this film too. When you watch them on the screen you will feel like this script belongs to them. I can work on a lot of subjects which can go very well with Ayushmaan Khurana and Bhumi Pednekar. Their sensibility matches with the sensibility of scripts which I like. They both are intelligent people; they are young, however, they understood the depth of life early in life and their understanding of script is incredible. It is an amazing feeling to see new generation like this.

Your earlier films be it ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ or ‘Raanjhanaa’ are also based on middle-class families.
May be subconsciously I do it as I come from a middle-class family. I am looking forward to making  certain changes here because that’s my class.  And it’s my responsibility to bring the changes, which are required with time. And somewhere I have realised that we always keep hearing that middle-class people are conservative and orthodox and now we are in 2017-18 and its high time that we change that perception. On a regular interval, when I write the story, I try to bring a slight change and contribute to the society where we can see middle-class in a different light.

Did you talk about bringing audience for  Shah Rukh Khan?
I never said that I will bring back the audience the only thing I said is that Shah Rukh Khan is the man who only cares for love he never cares for box office. He knows how to fall in love and how to make people fall in love and he is a very intelligent man. He teaches us how to be patience in life and I am looking forward to an exciting journey with him. 

Are you looking forward to working with any  particular actor?
I am really looking forward to working with Dhanush again. He is not an actor to me anymore, he is like my younger brother. Dhanush is one of the brilliant actors we have in India right now. I had a great time working with him and I discovered a lot of things about myself while working with him. So, my next journey is due with him and in next couple of years will be working together.  

What are your future projects?
I am working on a few – one as director and a few as a producer. I am working on an untitled movie with Shah Rukh Khan and it is a very exciting project but we have to wait for it till I finish it.