Filmmaker Aanand L. Rai d Image Credit: IANS

An Aanand L Rai film — whether directed or produced — brims with simplicity, a quality, the director says, he cannot do without.

After a patchy start with Strangers and Thodi Life Thoda Magic, Rai found his footing as a director with the Tanu Weds Manu series and Raanjhanaa.

“The key to my films is simplicity. I haven’t changed fundamentally post Tanu Weds Manu, because I don’t want to. I have this fear. You can say I am very aware about this, that the day I change as a person I won’t be able to make the kind of films that I do,” Rai said in an interview.

“I’ll always keep my inner self like this, the way it is now, because my stories come from there. If I changed my inner core, if I get corrupted, if I let this simplicity go, it’ll reflect on the stories,” he added.

Along with blockbuster directorial hits, Rai soon become one of the top most producers by backing films such as Newton, Shubh Mabgal Saavdhaan, Happy Bhag Jayegi and Mukkabaaz.

The director does not feel he has changed his approach towards films because the audience has changed.

“They were always smart and intelligent. Today the directors are telling new stories because we are writing new ones. If the audience was not smart, how did we have Mother India, Guide, Pyaasa?”

“But then there came a phase where we become complacent. We just didn’t offer the audience anything new. But today, slowly we have picked up again. We are back to writing good stories and the audience, like always, is appreciating,” he says.

Rai is currently looking forward to the release of his next, Manmarziyaan. Portions of the film were earlier filmed by Sameer Sharma featuring Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar and Vicky Kaushal but the project got shelved.

It was later revived with Bareilly Ki Barfi director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari coming on board to direct it but the project again fell through.

The film was finally directed by Anurag Kashyap, this time featuring Kaushal, Taapsee Pannu and Abhishek Bachchan.

“I am just on the lookout for good stories. There was never a time when I thought Manmarziyaan won’t happen because I believed in the story and stood by it. This was meant to happen.”

“A good story never dies. And if it’s with me, it’ll never get lost. You just cannot deprive the audience of a good subject,” he adds.

His next directorial is Shah Rukh Khan film Zero, scheduled to release this December.