Eighteen months after he delivered his last film, Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Raees, Rahul Dholakia tells mid-day that rumours of a second instalment have little merit. “There will be no Raees sequel,” says the director, quick to add that he does, however, have a series of ventures, primarily with Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani’s Excel Entertainment, in the pipeline.
“I’ve written about four scripts over the past year-and-a-half, which are expected to go on floors. They’re all of various genres — social drama, thriller, a relationship film and another hardcore, realistic low-budget venture. I am also in talks with Red Chillies [Khan’s production house].”
For his upcoming projects, Dholakia hopes to keep an arm’s length from subjects that may fuel controversies during the time of release, even as he laments the lack of change brought about in the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) after the replacement of the infamous chief Pahlaj Nihalani with Prasoon Joshi. “Nothing has changed since [Joshi took office]. I remember, when he was appointed, I was so excited because Prasoon is such a wise [ad] filmmaker. I thought he’d be the change we all wanted, because he understands cinema, and is sensible and sensitive. But, that has not happened. We still have issues with films like S Durga and Nude.”
The director says the fear of the CBFC’s scissors has them “censoring in our mind while writing the script itself”. “Even when a character like Raees is crafted, we have to consider if we should show him as someone who smokes. Because then we have to consider that two minutes will go in adding the disclaimer, apart from including it each time he is shown doing so. So we conclude that we’ll be better off showcasing a gangster who does not smoke. In turn, the character loses its charm.”