RJ Balaji interview: ‘There is a personal reason why I decided to remake Badhaai Ho’

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RJ Balaji interview: ‘There is a personal reason why I decided to remake Badhaai Ho’
RJ Balaji interview: ‘There is a personal reason why I decided to remake Badhaai Ho’


Radio jockey turned successful Tamil film actor and director, RJ Balaji’s upcoming film, Veetla Vishesham, is a remake of the superhit Hindi film, Badhaai Ho. Balaji talks here about why he chose the film, and what it takes to make films a hit in theaters

After the success of his two films, ‘LKG’ and ‘Mookuthi Amman’, all eyes are on his next ‘Veetla Vishesham’

RJ Balaji, the radio jockey-turned-comedian, has now become a successful hero and director in Tamil cinema. His first two films – LKG and Mookuthi Amman were money spinnetrs and all eyes are, now, on his next Veetla Visheshamthe Tamil remake of the blockbuster Hindi comedy-drama Badhaai Ho.

In a chat with The FederalBalaji reveals why he decided to do the remake of this particular Hindi film.

“A few years ago, when I hadn’t yet made my debut as a hero, I saw Badhaai Ho and approached a few producers to procure the rights of the film. But most of them were reluctant to bankroll the film featuring me in the lead. Luckily, after Mookuthi Amman, Boney Kapoor, and Rahul, the producers of Valimai approached me asking if I would be interested in remaking Badhaai Ho in Tamil. I felt as if the film chose me, ”Balaji recounts.

He also has a personal connection with the film’s core plot. “After I completed my 12th standard, my mom delivered a baby. She brought the baby to college to seek a seat for me. On seeing Badhaai HoI was able to instantly connect with the protagonist’s situation, ”he points out.

On why he opted for a remake after two consecutive hits, Balaji says, “Well, I was also working on a few more ideas but did not want to miss out remaking a beautiful film that would make everyone in the family happy. Though it’s a remake, we worked on the script for almost six months just like any other original script of ours. We changed a lot of things for the Tamil audience. For example, here, Urvashi’s character says she will have the baby because it’s her choice but the Hindi version’s take on the abortion was not rational. It’s patriarchal. “

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What drew Balaji to Badhaai Ho is also because he had previously planned to make a film with a similar idea as a spin-off to Mookuthi Amman. “I was about to pen a script based on what if Urvashi (Balaji’s mom in Mookuthi Amman) gives birth to a new baby. If I opted out of the Badhaai Ho remake, someone else would’ve done it. And, my spin-off idea would not look fresh to the audience. Above all, delivering a baby when you are old is not taboo, it’s the ultimate choice of the mom to decide whether she should have the baby or not. We have tried to convey this message without getting preachy, ”says Balaji.

On casting for Veetla VisheshamBalaji reveals that Sathyaraj was super excited to play his dad in their first meeting itself and maintained the same energy till the film wrapped up.

“He came up with interesting ideas on how his character should speak and suggested several interesting mannerisms. After seeing the full film, Sathyaraj sir said it’s one of his best five films in Tamil, ”he says.

Veteran actress Urvashi knew Balaji from his Mookuthi Amman days

Veteran actress Urvashi knew Balaji from his Mookuthi Amman days. “She knows about our team and her contribution to Veetla Vishesham is immense. KPAC Lalitha, the Malayalam actress on par with our own Manorama Aachi, also plays a pivotal role. We wanted someone who can speak good Tamil to play the female lead and after watching Soorarai Pottru, the entire team felt Aparna would be the right choice, ”he shares.

In today’s entertainment landscape, a 360-degree promotion is a must to bring audiences to theaters, he asserts. “Today’s audiences have multiple choices. As an actor, it’s my duty to ensure that my film gets the maximum reach. Recently, at the age of 67, Kamal sir promoted his film Vikram aggressively on various platforms. I almost spend 30 to 45 days on the promotions of Veetla Vishesham. We have to constantly remind the audiences about our film. This strategy of mine has helped me and my films so far, ”he says.

However, Balaji worked with actress Nayanthara, who on the other hand, is completely against promotions. “I know Nayanthara wouldn’t come for promotions because it was clearly mentioned in the agreement. Actors like Ajith and Nayanthara are confident that their films need no promotions but not all actors can afford it. For Mookuthi Amman, Nayanthara’s mere presence earned us good visibility and increased the overall business of the film, after, all, she is a superstar, ”he says.

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Besides being an actor, Balaji became a successful director with Mookuthi Amman and he is also one of the directors of Veetla Vishesham. When asked if he would like to direct some other actors in the future, he says, “No, people have accepted me as an actor and I just want to enhance my space in the industry. Also, working with legendary stars like Sathyaraj and Urvashi is the same as helming films of leading stars ”.

The audience has accepted him as an actor, says RJ Balaji

Balaj used to be vocal about social issues on Twitter but he has become rather silent of late. His childhood ambition was to become a politician. “Naturally, I tend to talk about social issues and thought registering my voice on social media would bring a change but nothing happened. Instead, now I’ve decided to try my best to make people happy in my life. Now, I’m able to give jobs to a few people, it helps their families in some way. This is the best a common man like me can do ”.

Balaji also says that he is against fan clubs. “When I was shooting for Veetla Vishesham, I happened to meet a youngster. I asked him what he does for a living, his answer was a shocker. Though he is an assistant AC mechanic, he introduced himself as a secretary of a star’s fans club. It’s disheartening to see youngsters losing their identity in this fashion. A few youngsters also approached me to start my fan club, but I was not interested. If they really like me, watching my movie is more than enough. I don’t like young minds wasting their time and money in fan clubs, ”he says categorically.

Balaji says one should chase his / her goals without any inhibitions –sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.

“For an inspirational song in LKG, my team was suggesting a lot of names, but I wanted to approach AR Rahman sir. I emailed him and he kindly replied, but with a negative response. What I’m trying to say here is we should try our best for possible collaborations and interesting opportunities, ”he signs off.


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