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How Aanand L Rai Built A Brand Which Is Now Linked With A Genre Of Filmmaking

As Aanand L Rai turns a year older, Screenbox gives you an insight into his consistent body of work, how he continues to win viewers’ applause for his compelling vision and decodes his personal style that cuts across movies & genres.

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THERE’S no one path to success—and filmmaker Aanand L Rai is proof. Aanand was about 24 when he moved to Mumbai and followed in the footsteps of his brother Ravi Rai who had turned into an established TV director by then. Aanand, who had studied computer engineering, was so fascinated by filmmaking that he didn’t think twice before jumping into TV and later, cinema to bring to the viewers several romantic stories with complex emotions.

As he turns a year older, Screenbox gives you an insight into his consistent body of work, how he continues to win viewers’ applause for his compelling vision and decodes his personal style that cuts across movies & genres.

Turns Small Town Into A Movie Character

Even though Aanand left Delhi after finishing school, the city could never leave him. As Aanand had said in one of his interviews, the Delhi he grew up in can now be found in tier-2 cities and small towns.

So each time the three-times National Award winner sets his film in cities like Kanpur (Tanu Weds Manu franchise), Varanasi (Raanjhanaa) or Meerut (Zero), it is an extension of his deliberate attempt to revisit the capital city and depict its culture of eating together and spending time together.

Contrary to the thought that Aanand tries to sell small town through his films, the filmmaker uses the setting to stay real to his stories. He simply entertains people by telling simple stories in an interesting way. His characters carry middle-class sensibilities because he too has been a “government colony ka bachcha”. “My middle class is the small town middle class. It has helped me to portray the middle class in an honest way. What is working with the audience is actually real India,” he had once said in an interview.

Going by the success of his films set in small town, we want Aanand to continue to explore the magnetic relationship between Bollywood and the small-towns of north India and blur the rural-urban divide.

Produces Films To Explores New Genres

As a director, Aanand focuses on stories that call out to him. As a producer, he has backed unconventional films movies like Nil Battey Sannata, Happy Bhag Jayegi.

Not just that, he also entered a new genre with Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, Manmarziyaan and supported films like Newton & Tumbbad because he knew he wouldn’t have been able to “direct” them.

So clearly, producing movies has been a breather for Aanand as it allowed him to enter a new space even as he continued to contribute to cinema.

Grows With Every Movie He Directs & Produces

While majority of Aanand’s films have been successful because they had a heart of their own, some projects proved dud. His movie Zero featuring Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif, offered a unique story, but still couldn’t connect with the audience.

Raksha Bandhan, featuring Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar, delved into issues like dowry and body shaming, but it failed too.

With Raksha Bandhan, Aanand catered to the audience in the B and C tier cities, but got wrong in differentiating between the viewers. But the lesson he learned was that focusing on the story is as important as selecting the audience whom he wants to cater to.

Despite his failures, Aanad continues to strikes a chord with viewers in a deep and unique way. His films stays with the viewers, and make them think, feel good and enjoy. He proves his films can have romance, heartbreak, pain, almost everything. And it is easy.

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