Ajay Devgn agreed to do Raid the minute we narrated the script to him, reveals director Raj Kumar Gupta
Raj Kumar Gupta talks about what it is that appealed to him about the story of Raid, taking his own sweet time to make a film and working with Ajay Devgn, in an interview with Firstpost.
Raj Kumar Gupta can easily pass off as a research scholar given his bespectacled look and an appearance that defies his actual age. After having tasted success with his debut film, the intense and gritty Aamir, his next featured two best actresses of the current generation (Rani and Vidya). No One Killed Jessica was a game changer and laid the grammar for films based on real events.
The reclusive director is now back again in folds with Raid and this time too it’s a story that made headlines in Lucknow in the early 80s. So what was it that appealed to him the most about this incident?
“You normally get to hear about raids that are conducted at somebody’s house but nobody has a clue on what actually happens inside. The only thing that is known to us are the basic facts: that a premise was raided and certain amount of money was recovered. The '80s was a period when there were no mobile phones and no social media and the only mode of communication was landline; this carried some element of mystery. The entire chain of the process and the time frame really appealed to me,” says Gupta in an interview with Firstpost.
The plot of Raj Kumar’s film Raid centers on a high profile raid that happened in Lucknow in early 80s and the director admits that he was not aware of the incident.
So how did he research for the film? “I have been part of films that have been inspired by real life events and all were heavily researched. I have lots of friends who are part of the Indian Revenue Services apart from IAS officers. The idea was to go and meet them and have a first-hand look at the processes they go through. We looked for people who were involved in raid and this also included wives of the officers," he informs.
Raj Kumar also adds that while researching the film one thing that really took him by surprise was the bravery of the people who conducted the raid. Gupta is confident that it’s the simplicity of the story and the unbelievability factor that will really appeal to people.
Ask Raj Kumar how much of the film is fiction and how much is real and he admits that it would be difficult to quantify.
“There have been cinematic liberties taken in terms of bringing in all points of view and incorporating humour elements. One interesting aspect that came out while talking to officers involved in the raid was this: almost all of them admitted that had it not been the courage and support of their families, it would have been difficult to carry out the task efficiently. The research helped us give a very humane touch to the story," says Gupta.
For a director who believes in writing his own story, this time Raj Kumar Gupta gave a break to his pen and assigned the responsibility of crafting the story and screenplay to Ritesh Shah, the man behind Pink and Airlift. But one thing which is crystal clear from his filmography is the fact that Raj Kumar takes his own sweet time to make films. It’s been almost a decade and his repertoire boasts of just four films.
“I would love to make more films but there are so many elements that need to come together to get a film made. I would certainly like to see to it that my next film comes next year but again, one does not really have control over such things,” he says. Gupta adds that he would also like to experiment with genres but would rather do things that excite him the most.
Judging by the promos, it can safely be inferred that Raid is a film that will bring out the bravery of Income Tax officers in all its glory. Would it be right to deduce that Raid is to the Income Tax department what Singham was to Mumbai Police? "It’s for the audience to decide but it should happen. We have only tried to tell a story about people who, despite their good work, are not much recognised. We are hoping that deserving people get recognised through this film," he says.
When Gupta is asked if Ajay was the first choice for the role of Amay Patnaik, the question annoys him a bit. He answers, nonetheless, “This first choice question is asked so many times and the reply is also the same, but having said that Ajay was aware of the core idea and had liked it but at that time had not heard the script as there was no script. When we finished the script and narrated it to him he was on board after the narration.”
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