Did you know Rajkummar Rao-starrer Shahid took over a year to complete its 32-day schedule? Had no takers initially!

Filmmaker Hansal Mehta’s National award-winning film Shahid brought the filmmaker and its lead actor Rajkummar Rao immense critical acclaim. However, before it released in India, the film faced its fair share of struggle. And now, talking to us exclusively, Hansal’s son, filmmaker Jai Mehta shares that the movie had no takers initially in India, even though it did a great round at international film festivals.

Rajkummar Rao in a still from Shahid.
Rajkummar Rao in a still from Shahid.

“We shot a 32-day shoot for a period of a year and a half, and the fact that the entire crew stayed and we pulled off a movie in 65 lakh. It’s a very good feat!,” shares Jai, who was the executive producer and the first AD (assistant director) on the 2012 film.

From Toronto Film Festival to Busan and to several other prwestigious festivals, Shahid fetched positive reviews, 

“Even after that, there were no buyers for Shahid. Then the Mumbai film festival (MAMI) happened after quite some time of Toronto, and there, producers Siddharth Roy Kapur and Ronnie Screwvala watched the film, and that’s when the audience really accepted it,” adds Jai.

Also Read: Hansal Mehta reveals how producers refused to fund Shahid with Rajkummar Rao as the lead

Hansal is known for making tough films, even if it meant being subjected to great trolling and criticism. However, seeing his father brave through it all has taught Jai an important lesson.

“None of the film, which I was a part of were easy to make. Their journey was always difficult. So, for me if the journey is too simple then anything isn’t right. It doesn’t really feel like a journey if its easy. It needs to be a hike and not a walk,” he says.

After assisting in films such as Gangs of Wasseypur, CityLights, That Girl In Yellow Boots among others, Jai forayed into independent direction with recently released series Lootere. The series also had Hansal Mehta as a showrunner.

Asked how was his experience of having his national-award winning father as the show runner of his debut independent direction, Jai Mehta reveals Hansal was there on set, but for a very short period of time. 

“He only came for two weeks but I mean I think being a director, it’s very hard to tell another director what to do. He was very trusting and we have been working together for so long that I don’t think anybody understands us more than how we understand each other. It’s almost unspoken. We can just look at each other and tell if its good or not. Though it’s very intimidating to have him around because I am always curious to know what he is thinking because he is a lot more experienced as a director. There is nothing wrong in getting a little reassurance ki sahi tha na ye?” concludes Jai.

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