Filmmaker Rahul Dholakia says real life stories have a larger impact
Few filmmakers in the Hindi film industry comfortably switch between making documentaries and directing commercial cinema. Rahul Dholakia is one of them. It’s been a little over a year since his last film, Raees, released and the film is still remembered as one of the biggest commercial successes of the Indian film industry. “This had the biggest superstar. Also to match my sensibility with sensibility of commercial cinema, it took nearly four years to make the film. Fortunately I had a great production house. Plus, Shah Rukh is a very hands-on actor. He does his homework and the best thing is he would do 17-18 rehearsals even with newcomers,” Rahul shares.
But Rahul’s trademark has always been his real life stories — be it his documentaries such as Teenage Parents and New York Taxi Drivers or his National Award winning film, Parzania. Therefore, the filmmaker has been associated with AXN’s theme of the month ‘movies based on real life stories.’
Ask him about his journey and Rahul says, “I was introduced to documentaries through a friend when I was still studying BSc in Mathematics at St Xavier’s College in Mumbai. Only VHS tapes were available back then. So I would visit Max Mueller Bhavan to watch these films. For a very long time I never really enjoyed watching Hindi cinema. I wanted to tell real life stories and that’s why I shot documentaries.” It was only in 2000, when Rahul approached a producer with his script (that’s not yet made into a film) that he was offered his first commercial Hindi film Kehta Hai Dil Baar Baar (2002).
Since then, he has made a handful of commercial films that are among the most memorable ones, like Parzania. “This was my most memorable film because it was a blend of my documentary and commercial Hindi cinema styles of shooting. There were a lot of struggles to make that film. People still talk about it and it is still relevant,” he says.
Talking about AXN’s theme of movies on real life stories, Rahul says, “It’s great to show realistic cinema. The audience is changing and wants to see real stories that are not star-driven. The fact that you can relate to the narrative is always exciting.” Going forward, the filmmaker is working on a few scripts for films and web series.