It’s the birthday of the blockbuster king of small town stories. Aanand L. Rai has delivered some of the biggest smashing hits and placed India’s small towns on the global map of cinema. Whether it was the money-spinning runaway superhit franchise ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ (2011) or his recent OTT hit ‘Atrangi Re’ (2021) that broke all records, his films have charted the length and breadth of the country. The maverick director-producer has turned 51 years old yesterday, June 28.
Aanand L. Rai has a knack to tackle risky small town subjects with great sensitivity and impressive commercial sensibilities. Hailing from a humble background, the director-producer is a successful self-made story in the industry. His directorial ventures ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ (2011), ‘Raanjhanaa’ (2013), ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’ (2015), ‘Zero’ (2018) and ‘Atrangi Re’ (2021) have brought to life raw and real small-town stories on the great canvas of cinema and pop-culture. On the other hand, his productions like ‘Nil Battey Sannata’ (2015), ‘Happy Bhaag Jayegi’ (2016), ‘Subh Mangal Saavdhan’ (2017), ‘Tumbbad’ (2018), ‘Manmarziyaan’ (2018), ‘Shubh Mangal Zyaada Saavdhan’ (2020) have been both, critically acclaimed, as well as commercially successful.
His upcoming directorial, ‘Raksha Bandhan’, starring Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar, is set to be yet another feather to his director’s hat. Set against the backdrop of middle-class Delhi, he has once again given stories from India’s heartland a platform to be seen. His Janhvi Kapoor-starrer, ‘Good Luck Jerry’ is currently one of OTT’s most awaited films and once again tells a story about a small-town girl struggling to make ends meet. Yet another one of his productions, ‘An Action Hero’, starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Jaideep Ahlawat, has also piqued audience interest already.
It’s clear that Aanand L. Rai has established his school of filmmaking with the audience by making small-town stories commercially viable. With the massive success of the 2011 romantic-comedy drama ‘Tanu Weds Manu’, Aanand L. Rai was easily one of the industry’s pioneers when it came to small-town storytelling.
Speaking about his genre of films on the occasion of his birthday, Aanand L. Rai shared, “I have always wanted to make India’s heartland a big part of our cinematic landscape and I’m happy to see that it finally is! I am grateful for all the love that has been showered upon my films so far. It has indeed been a journey full of learnings, lessons and love. I am excited about what the future holds with small-town stories becoming increasingly popular with the audience. I hope to continue giving you films that will make you laugh, love, cry and tug at your heartstrings.”
While his upcoming feel-good family drama ‘Raksha Bandhan’ releases on the day of Raksha Bandhan occasion in the theatres on 11th August, his black comedy crime film ‘Good Luck Jerry’ will hit OTT on 29th July. He has proved time and again that he can make films of both scales, catering to the theatre-going audience as well as the OTT film binging audience.