Film-maker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra feels lucky to have won a National Award for the third time recently.
After Rang De Basanti (2006) and Delhi 6 (2009), he has won it for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013). He received the honour in New Delhi this weekend. He says, "I feel very lucky to have got this award. The pride and dignity with which a National Award is given is unmatchable and very different from other film awards. I do feel that the others are more song-and-dance affairs."
The film-maker feels that the person who actually deserves the award is Olympian Milkha Singh. "I have only been a medium to tell his story. He deserves it all,” says Mehra.
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While on the subject of awards, the film-maker adds that no one should question the integrity of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award. "Getting such an honour is not only an accomplishment, but also gives you a sense of completeness. It is as prestigious as getting a Bharat Ratna. It should be respected and no one should ridicule it," he explains.
Interestingly, in April, writer Salim Khan had questioned the credibility of the same award, which is given annually by the Government of India. He claimed that there was lobbying for the same and that people in the committee that picked the winners had personal biases.
Up next, Mehra is working on a romantic musical, based on the tragic love story of Mirza and Sahiba. The film-maker admits that he is nervous about it. He explains, "I don’t know how I will interpret the illogical emotion of love on screen. Moreover, in terms of the canvas and grandeur, it is bigger than anything I have ever done."