Filmmaker Rohit Shetty, who scored a hit with Golmaal Again in a year which has seen Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan’s films fall flat at the box office, says a good commercial movie will always work. Rohit Shetty was asked if there was any sort of anxiety about the fact that a chunk of commercial films were rejected in 2017 before Judwaa 2 and Golmaal Again came. Rohit Shetty said, “No… What has happened is that just because you have a big star, you tag it as a commercial film. I don’t see Tubelight as a commercial film. Whereas Salman Khan’s Tiger Zinda Hai is a commercial film — you can make out, there is action, there is song and there is everything what a Salman Khan film should be like.”
“And I really admire and respect Kabir Khan for taking Salman Khan after Bajrangi Bhaijaan and making a film like Tubelight. It didn’t work, that’s a different story altogether but at least he was honest in what he was doing. So I don’t see Tubelight as a commercial film.
“I don’t see Jab Harry Met Sejal as an out and out Shah Rukh Khan commercial film. So you can’t call these two films commercial. And other than that what happened this year was that a lot of people took back-foot, ‘Oh, commercial is not going to work’, which is a wrong theory altogether. A good commercial film will always work.”
As for himself, he says he doesn’t know if there’s a success formula.
“The kind of films I make are for pan-India. There’s a large segment of the audience which come and see these kind of films, commercial films… I make commercial films keeping in mind my audience which is largely family audience and mass audience and I try to cater them every time. It’s just going right all the time… That’s all I can say. I try to cater to a segment of audience which I know (would like my cinema).”
He went wrong with Dilwale.
“That is the first time in my career that I went to cater the audience which is not mine, that’s a Shah Rukh-Kajol audience… We changed the whole film and that went wrong. So that was a learning experience – to cater to an audience and not to shift that.”
Rohit Shetty is himself a fan of director Rajkumar Hirani.
“I have a lot of respect in my heart for him because I think he is the only director who can pull off a commercial film with so much value and so much of message. He is the only commercial director who can cater everyone. If you watch a Raju Hirani film, it has everything. The class that Raju Hirani brings in is amazing.
“I think he is the finest director we have in our country or in the world I would say,” he said of Mr Hirani, known for movies like the Munna Bhai series, 3 Idiots and PK.
Talking about whether he feels angry that he doesn’t get the respect he deserves, Mr Shetty said: “Earlier I used to, but now I know that it’s never going to happen ever in my life. But you know what, because of television, I think I’ve calmed down. And when I say television, it’s because people know who Rohit Shetty is, you become a brand because of that and then you start meeting people when you’re travelling, you’re at the airport, in the gym or you’re with your family at a mall or a restaurant.
“And then people start loving you so much giving you so much love and respect. This is the reason now I’ve mellowed down a lot. Just to make yourself sound intellectual you can’t bring a Rohit Shetty down. You can work hard and make your own space.”