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Akshay Kumar’s simplicity is very charming, says Atrangi Re director Aanand L Rai


The filmmaker talks about writing stories on the ordinariness of life set against the backdrop of heartland India; talks about his collaboration with Akshay Kumar and Dhanush in his next

Atrangi Re marks the first collaboration between Aanand L Rai and Akshay Kumar. The filmmaker will also be directing the superstar in his upcoming project, Raksha Bandhan. Talking about the actor, he says, “Akshay’s honesty made me want to work with him again after this film. He’s the most uncomplicated actor I’ve ever met. He never tries to disguise himself. So, it’s easy to understand and read him. For a director like me, that simplicity is very charming.”

Atrangi Re will also see Rai reuniting with South star Dhanush, who he directed in Raanjhanaa (2013). “There’s a lot to discover about him,” says Rai, who considers him to be his “younger brother”. He elaborates, “I’m so close to Dhanush that I fail to observe the evolution that he has had, career wise. We’re working after seven to eight years but we’ve been very close. You never come to know when your kid grows up.”

Akshay Kumar, Sara Ali Khan and Dhanush in stills from Atrangi Re

Currently in the process of working on the score of the film with music maestro AR Rahman, Rai believes that his music contributes to his films in more ways than one. “Rahman sir makes me a better director. His songs make me think and create. When you’ve him in a film, telling the story becomes a magical experience.”

The filmmaker, over the years, has carved a niche for himself with scripts set against the backdrop of heartland India such as Tanu Weds Manu (2015), among others. Quiz him if he has ever felt trapped in his own template and Rai says, “It’s always fun when you get trapped and feel ki abb isme se kaise niklunga. I wait for the trap wondering ki kya iss baar magic hoga? But it’s great to have Bhushan Kumar (producer) who just lets you fly. I wouldn’t like to give two years of my life to a story where I don’t feel a lot is at stake (smiles).”

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