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Hit Machine Rohit Shetty on Cirkus, his brand & more: I don’t try to please the ones who don’t like my films

From Zameen in 2003 to Sooryavansh in 2021, Rohit Shetty has managed to emerge one of the biggest brands of Hindi cinema. Over the 18 years, the filmmaker has helmed 14 films, of which 12 are successful and is soon gearing up for his 15th directorial with the comedy of errors, Cirkus, featuring Ranveer Singh in a double role. The director considers himself lucky and insists that it has been a fabulous journey for him. His stint on TV with Khatron Ke Khiladi has also been extremely popular with the show making it to the number one position on TV charts season after season, episode after episode. “Because of television, people know who Rohit Shetty is,” he smiles.

Rohit has been making those big screen entertainers all through his career, and believes that this genre can never go out of fashion. “I started to cater to my loyal audience and I don’t want to divert from that. I know what they want and I am trying to deliver that. My attempt is to try and deliver something that’s bigger and better than my last film. That’s what has worked in my favour. All said and done, there are many more talented directors and technicians than me. The love from the audience makes me feel blessed.”


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Cirkus is Rohit’s 15th directorial. Point that to him and he smiles, “Thanks to the pandemic, otherwise, this would have been my 17th film. Cirkus is one film that I always wanted to make and we started it during the pandemic. Sooryavanshi was ready and we were waiting for the theatres to open. But my technicians were at home and I wanted to restart the cycle for them. Much like Sooryavanshi, Cirkus also has a history. It was the first film to get into the production stage. So many producers and directors visited our sets to see how we are shooting. This one is for my technicians.”

Opening up about the idea of creating Cirkus, Rohit adds, “We didn’t make a comedy film for a long time. After Golmaal Again, we moved on to Simmba and Sooryavanshi, so it was a collective instinct to make a comedy now, that too with Ranveer, since we had not done this genre. His presence made it even more exciting.”  What is it that makes Rohit deliver time and again, especially in an industry where everyone lags behind in consistency? He answers, “I don’t divert from what I am doing. I understand the requirements of my audience and I try to make it bigger, better and newer. My team is very young and I learn a lot from them. I don’t try to please the ones who don’t like my films. I respect them, and they can have their due opinions. Everyone has their choice and I choose to stick to my audience. I have been loyal to them, they have been loyal to me. Family audience come with an expectation and mindset – ‘Rohit Shetty Ki Picture Hai, Chalo Mazza Karke Aate Hai.’ They have given me so much love and I don’t want to desert them.”


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Having made films like Singham, Golmaal, All The Best, Sooryavanshi, Simmba, and Bol Bachchan among many more, action or comedy – what is Rohit’s favourite genre? “I love both of them. For me, it’s about entertainment, which can be in the form of action or comedy,” he keeps it short.

In the pandemic times, his directorial, Sooryavanshi, with Akshay Kumar, is the highest opener as also one of the biggest grossers till date. Shetty shies away from addressing this question and humbly says, “We opened at 50 percent and did almost 200 crore. It might have done 300 crore if we had 100 percent occupancy. But I am happy because 10 years down the lane, people will remember Sooryavanshi as a film that opened the cinema halls for the Hindi film industry. After a point of time, it was not about money. We all wanted to revive theatres. If the intent was money, I would have given it to OTT and earned 10 times more than what we did now.”

Since Sooryavanshi, very few films have succeeded at the box office. The Hindi film industry has seen big budget films flopping left, right and centre. If there’s one person who can analyse the scenario, it’s Shetty. Where are we going wrong? Rohit explains, “It’s a phase and big scale is the thing now. We have to make the big scale cinema in the right way. There have been phases when films didn’t do well for 10 months. At present, making a project is not going to work, making a film is going to work. We can’t make a film thinking, ‘I have got this actor’s dates, let’s go to Lucknow or London and make the film for subsidy.’ We all need to come, sit and think about the audience.” He adds that the project making aside, the audience consumption pattern has also changed in the last two years. 


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“The audience has a lot to watch now. The phrase ‘Yeh OTT Ki Film Hai’ is popular today because the audience is aware about the film premiere in a month or two. We all need to come together and decide on how to tempt the audience,” Rohit avers, quick to explain that cinema is a director’s medium and it’s the right content that will bring in the audience. “Superstars too have given flops. I don’t believe in writing scripts thinking that a superstar presence will make my film bigger. The superstar might get an opening weekend… err.. rather, today, a superstar can just get in the audience for a day or two because of social media – but he can’t drive the film further.”

The new season of Khatron Ke KhIladi is the top rated non fiction show on TV at the moment for three weeks in a row. Rohit is among the rare personalities to have succeeded as a host on TV due to his connection with the audience. “Television has been a big contribution in making me a brand. Be it Khatron Ke Khladi or my films – they are all television friendly. Once a week, there is a Rohit Shetty film on TV. As I said, I have been very lucky to be loved by the audience.” Director and Television host aside, Rohit has also turned a model recently by signing on for multiple brands. This has also spurred a conversation of how the director can make for an actor too. Is he planning his acting debut anytime soon? “Nope, never. I am working back to back on feature films. I have never thought that way,” he concludes.


Stay tuned to Pinkvilla for part two and part three of this interview soon, wherein Rohit Shetty spoke of Cirkus, Singham 3, Golmaal 5 and his plans of cop universe.

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