Rajkumar Hirani
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Hirani's scared of expectations!

Rajkumar Hirani

By HT

Mumbai, Oct. 19 -- At a screening of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Anand (1971) at the Mumbai Film Festival, Rajkumar Hirani presented the film and interacted with students before it.

Even as he spoke of how the late film-maker has inspired him, we heard some students whisper about how it's Hirani's work that inspires them. "It's fascinating to hear that," says the director of the Munnabhai series, adding, "Such festivals give film lovers the opportunity to interact, share ideas and get exposure to world cinema. Many industry people have come together to support the event this year, and people's interest will only make it larger. It's a good sign."

Tell him that he is looked up to as one of the most intelligent film-makers in Bollywood today, and Hirani admits that he's scared of people's expectations. "It scares me, but it's also humbling. I always try to give my best shot and make a film better than my last one. I concentrate on creating something unique and different. I will keep that battle on with myself, and I think that's the only way to live up to expectations," he says.

Hirani's next stars Aamir Khan, with whom he has had a huge hit in 3 Idiots (2009). Talk about the expectations from them teaming up again, and he says, "I understand people want us to deliver. There is a huge amount of pressure when I work with Aamir, because of the expectations. But honestly, I cast actors on the basis of the role. I could not have cast Sanjay Dutt for the role of Rancho in 3 Idiots. More than creating successful combinations, I work hard to create a good film."

Box-office numbers don't affect the film-maker either. "They bother me only to the extent that I recover my film's cost. I want a film to be loved more rather than checking its collections. People love Mughal-e-Azam (1960) not because of its box-office figures," he says.