Sara Ali Khan, Dhanush and Akshay Kumar-starrer Atrangi Re, which was released on December 24, 2021 on Disney+Hotstar, is currently the most-watched film on the OTT platform. Directed by Aanand L Rai and written by Himanshu Sharma, the film recorded the highest opening day viewership. In an exclusive conversation with IndiaToday.in, the director-writer duo talked about the film’s success and criticism. Atrangi Re is produced by T-series and Colour Yellow Productions.
I AM PROUD OF ATRANGI RE, IT WAS A TRICKY ONE: AANAND L RAI
Aanand L Rai and Himanshu Sharma share a long-standing association of about 15 years. The writer-director duo has given smashing hits together like Tanu Weds Manu, Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Raanjhanaa, and now, Atrangi Re. Talking about the love that Atrangi Re is receiving, Aanand L Rai said, “Personally, I feel very proud of being original with the script. From Tanu Weds Manu till now, what we have enjoyed is jumping into the ocean without the safety belt, we just dive into it. So I am proud of this film because it was a tricky one, and we always knew that this had a complicated world.”
He added, “When we made this film, we were feeling fearless and we were enjoying ourselves. Nobody has touched this relationship, no one has ever spoken about it and we wanted to go for it. Today it has reached the audience and it actually matters. There has been a debate and that’s what we wanted.”
TWO YEARS OF HARD WORK HAS FINALLY PAID OFF: HIMANSHU SHARMA
Adding to the same emotion Aanand L Rai mentioned, Himanshu Sharma said, “It’s a great feeling that the hard work, two years of grilling, has finally paid off. The best part is that the film is reaching people. It was a tricky film and a lot of thought went into it about how it is going to pan out. It’s a great feeling that all that you have thought of was manifested, it has reached the people. So, it’s a great reward.”
AANAND AND HIMANSHU ON ATRANGI RE CRITICISM
The duo also spoke about the criticism that the film has been receiving. In the film, Sara Ali Khan’s character, Rinku, goes through post-traumatic stress disorder. As per some critics, the film doesn’t do justice to mental health disorders. Addressing the same, Aanand L Rai said, “We have to talk about mental health only in the films, otherwise we are not taking care of anybody else around us? You are putting so much pressure on films that you’re not looking at the intention with which the film has been made.”
Himanshu also called out the criticism. He said, “It (mental health) is not the only thing that we thought of. There are many other things like love – a debate between perfection and imperfection, the totality of love, what is love. The kind of conflict that happens with what we expect in our partners vis-a-vis what real people are. We expect them to be the finest of the people, with the topmost quality, but real people are flawed. So there were multiple things that the film was trying to say.”
Himanshu further added, “In the end, it’s a film and not a documentary. It is not a 500 word essay on mental illness, it is a film, it needs to entertain you. When we write a film, it has to maneuver its way to many of the issues that I spoke about, and at times certain things take a backseat, and other times it takes a forefront. Yes, the mental health issue is there but to me as a writer and for Aanand as a director, it was more of a sugar coating to say larger things. See the film for what it is and not for what you wanted. A large number of people saw that, they knew what the film was talking about and that is why we have got so much love.”
Ask Aanand L Rai if the negative comments affect him, and he responded, “No, it doesn’t. What matters to me is the real audience, for whom we are making the film. I think Atrangi Re has got its share of love and that matters to me.”
On the work front, Aanand L Rai is gearing up for his next project, Action Hero, with Ayushmann Khurrana. The film is scheduled to go on floors soon.