Recounting his life story, director Rohit Shetty highlighted why he believes in hard work and giving back to the society
The youth icon, who is popularly called ‘The Hit Machine’, director Rohit Shetty proved to be a real hero as the audience waited patiently for him to make his entry in the jam-packed Maquenez I for over 30 minutes.
Moderated by Mayank Shekhar, the conversation led Rohit into his childhood and his craze for watching films. He grew up in an atmosphere where films were a part of life. It was almost certain that he would go into films, and he joined the industry at a very young age. Following the footsteps of his late father M B Shetty, a stuntman, action choreographer and actor, Rohit began working at the age of 16, when he was out of school.
“I never went to college,” he admitted. When it was a need to work and earn, after having lost his father and when the family went through financial crises, Rohit never blamed anyone and there was no scientific of spiritual reason behind this. Blaming doesn’t help. Moving forward helps, he understood at a tender age. Instead of waiting to complete education, he decided to work and earn. “I requested Veeru Devgan ji to take me on board. My practical lessons began. Looking back, today I find myself with a dozen blockbusters, but let me tell you, it was hard work, sincerity and dedication that made me what I am today,” shared the producer-director who has earned name and fame from his Golmaal film series. If you get paid in rupees 100, you must give back in Rs 1000 worth work, he believes even today.
Apart from directing Ajay Devgn in 10 films, big names who worked with him as heroes are Abhishek Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Ranveer Singh, and Kareena Kapoor among others. “There’s so much to learn from them. All these actors are very committed. Their sincerity and attitude towards work is what amazes me,” says Rohit. Sharing an incident with Ranvir Singh, Rohit said, “I remember we were returning from Goa. And he was actually wearing a Tshirt that said, I am a Rohit Shetty hero! I told him, I am not going to step out of the airport with you, wearing that and face media. So l let him go first and making sure he got in his car, I slipped out.”
Starting his career as an assistant director, Rohit’s debut film as an independent director was Zameen in 2003. He took the risk of making Golmaal: Fun Unlimited, Golmaal Returns’ and Golmaal 3 and Golmaal Again - all comedies proved to be hits. He quips, “But then I thought am I cheating audience by giving comedies? I must try some action movie and Singham happened, by accident. I was working on Bol Bachchan and Chennai Express and had a break of six months. Within that period, we shot Singham in just four-and-half- months working 20 hours a day. Rest is history.”
Starring Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukon, Chennai Express was a result of Shahrukh’s wish to work with Rohit. “I want to make a film with you,” Shahrukh had expressed and when Rohit showed him the Chennai Express script, it was still yes from King Khan. Rohit expresses, “ When I asked Shahrukh about Chennai Express, he gladly obliged. Taking risk, we kept Tamil dialogues and did not have subtitles. It worked. It was the biggest hit. ”
When asked about the formula to be successful, Rohit, whose very first film Zameen was flop, he points out, “I analysed what went wrong and how I could do better. One needs a good script to make a good film. Audience is also equally important. One has to cater to the audience. It was good that failure happened early in my life. It taught me and I could learn from my mistakes, never repeating them. Audience has expectations from us and we must cater to them.”
Rohit gives the credit for his success to his team. “The credit goes to them. I have around 225-250 people in my crew and all of them are present. Some of them, especially fight masters of my dad’s time, have grown old and feeble. They had seen me as a kid. They are there around. Some junior artists, extras have no work, but they too are still there. Aadhe log kaam karenge, aadhe duva denge. (Some people will work; others will give blessings) In life, one needs blessings too,”concludes the filmmaker.