Panaji: Filmmaker Aanand L Rai says when he started out in the industry it was not possible for him to get big stars on board and now it has become his habit not to cast them in his films.
The director made his debut with "Strangers" in 2007 followed by "Thodi Life Thoda Magic". But it was only after the success of "Tanu Weds Manu" in 2011 that the 44-year-old filmmaker got recognition.
"Not working with big stars was my helplessness earlier and now it has become my habit. It has always been a priority to be able to tell the story with all my honesty and I cast my actors according to that," Aanand said on the sidelines of IFFI.
"I have always followed that and the reason for casting R Madhavan was same. I didn't even have the signing amount so I withdrew from my bank account and gave the sum to Madhavan. Even for Kangana we had a lot less money but we still approached her and thankfully she said yes. The film took three years to make but we had a lot of fun."
Aanand said after "Tanu Weds Manu", the studios started taking him seriously but even then he chose to stay on his path of filmmaking and decided to make "Raanjhanaa" instead of some potboiler.
"I had decided that I would do what my heart wants. And that's why I then decided to make 'Raanjhanaa' as I wanted to delve into the genre of a tragedy," he said. Talking about his next project, the director said it is about a boy from Meerut and a girl from Delhi who is a dentist.
"I find stories in small cities and create characters that more common and can connect well with the audience. Both the actors in my films have 3 feet height and the film is going to be a real excitement for me to as keeping it real, I am technicality challenging myself to go beyond my comfort area. A director should keep challenging himself with each film."