Director Sailesh Kolanu says working with acclaimed actor Rajkummar Rao in his Hindi directorial debut 'HIT – The First Case' has spoilt him and raised the bar of expectations from his future collaborators.
The upcoming film revolves around Vikram (Rao), a police officer with the fictitious 'Homicide Intervention Team' (HIT). Struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), he is on the trail of a missing woman.
A self-confessed fan of Rao’s work, Kolanu said he was amazed to see the commitment of the actor towards every single shot in the film. “We all know what Raj is capable of. I don’t think there is any character he won’t be able to play. As a person, to be in this industry for this long, he is still so passionate about every single shot. It ignites passion in me as well."
"I felt many a time he was hurting himself but he was acting. He was shaken up for a few seconds and he was back to doing masti after the shot was over. He has spoilt me, now if I go back (to the South), I will be expecting people to be like Raj. I don’t know how many actors I will find like that, ” the director told PTI in an interview.
The process of watching Rao seamlessly transform into his character, Kolanu said, was "magical". “He brings his own spin to the whole scene and sometimes it is way better than what I conceived. I was surprised,” he added. As a person, the director said, Rao, is a grounded and humble man, who oozes positive energy. “He never says no to anything, never insecure about anything,” he added.
'HIT' is a remake of Kolanu's 2020 Telugu crime investigative action thriller of the same name, starring Vishwak Sen and Ruhani Sharma. Kolanu said the film is a tribute to the police force and hence he felt it was necessary to glorify Rao's character a bit.
“What I want to portray with ‘HIT’ is the amount of work and detailing that goes into keeping people safe by the police department. In other words, it is glorifying the police. We are staying true to their world and being real and letting the audience experience the glimpse of hard work that they put in to keep the city safe."
The director stated that cinematically 'HIT' is unlike the larger-than-life image of a cop in cinema. “It is not a regular cop film. It is realistic. The cop is not a superhero. I am trying to highlight the realness of the whole business,” Kolanu added.
For the film, the 36-year-old director based his research on the statistics from media reports in which he found that a missing person's case often ends in murder. “If somebody goes missing and you don’t find them for 48 hours statistically, they are more likely to be found dead, unfortunately. And this department steps at the moment somebody goes missing to try and stop that murder from happening,” he said, adding there should be a department like 'HIT' in real life too.
A former associate professor in medicine at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, Kolanu said his qualification helped him etch out the forensic process in the film with ease.
'HIT' is an incident that has happened in this world in somebody's life and I have put all of them together and made a fictional story. It is not inspired by one true event, it is a combination of a number of real-life cases.”
Going forward, Kolanu said, he has a different roadmap for the Hindi and South versions of his 'HIT' cop universe. He said he is treating the franchise in the North as character-based and in the South as department-based, which means more actors will be added. "At one point, maybe bring them all together. The boundaries (of language in cinema) are getting blurred today and this is the best way to do it,” he added.
Also starring Sanya Malhotra, 'HIT' is produced by Bhushan Kumar, Dil Raju, Krishan Kumar, and Kuldeep Rathore. It is slated to be released on Friday.