Posted: 22 December 2014 at 4:34am | IP Logged
Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra opens up about his first reel-life love story, and why it has stayed with him down the decades
Roshmilla Bhattacharya (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 22, 2014)
When he first came to Mumbai, Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra, a 23-year-old kid from Delhi whom no one had heard of, remembers going to meet Gulzar with a copy of Devdas. Even though he didn't have an appointment, Gulzar received him graciously and smiled indulgently when told to write a screenplay based on it so Mehra could direct the film.Devdas didn't happen. But two decades later, Gulzar has written Mirziya for Mehra, based on the folklore of Mirza and Sahiban which he'd read when in college. "Gulzar has reinvented their story, set it in contemporary times, narrating it musically to give me my first reel-life love story. The real life one happened when I married Bharathi in 1992," he chuckles.It's 1 pm in Jaisalmer. After an all night shoot, Mehra is munching on a late brunch. Prod him on why this love story has stayed with him for all these years and he muses, "May be for its characters and its Sufiana vibe. Mirza is a great warrior who sacrifices himself for love while Sahiba grows out of her vanity to grow into love. That moment when she breaks all Mirza's arrows while he's sleeping, trying to prevent bloodshed, has stuck with me. We believe that we choose our subjects but actually they choose us."Saiyami Kher, Tanve Azmi's niece, is his Sahiba while Anil Kapoor's son, Harshvardhan, is Mirza. Mehra remembers his first meeting with Harsh on the sets of Delhi 6. "I told Bharathi then that this boy is special...His eyes, his smile. We remained in touch. He texted me a year-and-a-half ago saying, 'Sir, I'm ready,'" reminisces Mehra.He himself has been living with Mirziya for three years...Working on the shooting script for the last year-and-a-half...Waiting for over a decade to explore the love on screen. "The emotion manifests itself in different ways and touches all of us at various points in our lives. In Mirziya it's about the eyes, the touch, the romance of Gulzar's poetry. They say love is in the air because while you can't see it, you can feel it. I'm trying to feel it. My daughter is just turning 16, looking at life through her eyes I feel reborn. The days are full of sunshine, I can hear the birds chirping, bahut mazaa aa raha hai," he says wonderingly.But does such love have a place in a world of darkness and death? He recalls recording with AR Rahman for Delhi 6 which challenged religion and touched on the darknes within and around us. "A R Rahman told me that that we should apply balm on the open wounds," he says.This year was all about picking awards and accolades for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. The next year will be devoted to finishing Mirziya. "I also plan to go deep-sea diving with my kids. Last time we went trekking in Ladakh. This year I missed out so I have to make it up to them," he says.
Meanwhile, he's juggling three scripts--Casual Kamasutra which he's been living with for the last four years, the bilingual Raja which will be larger-than-life world cinema, and a film about college life with newcomers. "Any of them can take off next. Funding is the bottomline and it's decided not on the basis of your last film, but on excel sheets which tell you how much profit a film will make even before its made," he laughs, admitting that most likely it'll be the college film for which he is yet to find a name."Rahman calls it Why Do We Cry?"
There were talks of a sequel to Bhaag Milkha Bhaag too? Mehra rubbishes that, saying that Milkha was the story of a 12-year-old boy, who saw his parents massacred before his eyes, lost the most important race of his life but won over the world. "The first scene I wrote was of him preparing for that race in the Rome Olympics," he says. "The last 20 minutes were the last to be scripted. Now what's left to say? I can't bring his parents back or wish away the Partition. So it's better to move on to another story."
Edited by BollyFanLuver - 22 December 2014 at 4:41am