Gulzar to write Rakeysh’s Mirza

Posted In : Gossips, Interviews
(added 18 Apr 2013)

The post-production of Bhaag Milka Bhaag is still not over, but Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, who is known to take his own sweet time to develop a subject, is already planning his next project. Titled Mirza, it is a contemporary love story. And although Mehra prefers to write his own scripts, this time, he has entrusted the job to Gulzar. The veteran writer will also pen the lyrics for the film. In a freewheeling chat with this newspaper in a quaint bungalow that serves as his office, Mehra tells us about how his dream to work with Gulzar is nearly three decades old.

Gulzar to write Rakeysh’s Mirza

When Mehra was just 22, he had gone to meet Gulzar with a copy of Devdas and asked the poet to write him a script for it. "He didn't know me and I just walked up to him, kept the book on his table and said, 'I want you to write this film for me.' And now, 27 years later, he is actually writing a film for me!" Mehra quotes Ghalib's Hazaron khwahishen aisi and tweaks it to: Bahut nikle mere armaan, phir bhi thode thode nikal rahe hai... Speaking about more such magic moments, Mehra talks about the time he ventured into filmmaking with Aks in 2001.

He had already done over 200 ad films, but instead of enrolling in a professional course, he learnt filmmaking by watching movies and jotting down notes. It was his advertising background that helped him shoot Aks with Amitabh Bachchan - he had already worked with him in ad films. In fact, the first time he met Bachchan on the set of an ad film, he actually mustered enough courage to tell the legend that he was against him endorsing products. "I remember telling him: 'I have always seen you as this big man on the big screen, and now, you will be 8 inches tall on a TV screen.

It has always been you controlling us and now, the audience will control you with their remotes.'" Though Aks was not a box office success, it received much appreciation from the critics. However, the box office failure made Mehra work doubly hard for his next project, Rang De Basanti. "I started reading up more on screenplay writing. I lapped up every book written by Syd Field, the father of screenplay. And whatever I learnt was reflected in the dynamic screenplay of Rang De Basanti," he elaborates.

A day after Rang De released, he called up Field's office, requesting a one-on-one session with him but was politely told that he wouldn't be able to afford it. He recounts: "I told him that my movie just got released the day before and it's a huge hit. I am a rich guy! Few months later, I went to Los Angeles and had a session with him." After the huge success of Rang De, money started flowing in for his next project."I wanted to make Delhi 6 in a budget of around Rs 10-12 crore, shooting with a handheld camera on the streets of Delhi.

But since money was pouring in, the film was eventually made in a budget of Rs 45 crore," he elaborates. However, the film proved to be a dud at the box office and Mehra was heart broken. " I wanted to dig a hole and vanish. I took my son for a month-long diving holiday. I would talk to the flora and fauna underwater and complain that no one understands my kind of cinema." Coming to Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, we ask if Aamir would have been a more apt choice for the role of Milkha Singh, and he jokes: "Then Milkha would have to run a marathon and not just 400 meters. Aamir is a long distance runner! "Farhan is the only Flying Sikh on screen," he emphasises.

(added 18 Apr 2013) / 1260 views

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