It’s not just debutant director Mrigdeep Singh Lamba’s Teen Thay Bhai that director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is producing under his banner — Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Productions (ROMP). His bungalow in Pali, Bandra, is buzzing with energy and creativity of like-minded youngsters. The reason? “ROMP has paid advances for 15 scripts to a completely new crop of directors, with absolutely far out ideas,” says Mehra.
However, this is not his first attempt to connect with the younger generation. During the making of his National Award winning film, Rang De Basanti (2006), the director visited around 16 colleges, across the country and abroad, to understand their psyche.
Being with youngsters makes him feel “younger” according to Mehra. “I am learning a lot from working with these young directors. It’s a festival like atmosphere here. The idea is to have a mix of experience and youth to tell stories in a fresh way,” says Mehra who strongly believes in developing content first, even if that takes years.
Teen Thay Bhai, the first film directed by a debutant, produced under his banner, has Lamba who has earlier assisted Subhash Ghai. The next film to come from his banner will be an Amitabh Bachchan-starrer, which Sunil Pandey will make his directorial debut with. Pandey has in the past assisted Mehra on Rang de Basanti and Aamir Khan on Taare Zameen Par (2007).
After that playwright duo Nipun and Dharma who will make their directorial debut with Kuch Kartein Hain Yaar. “This is a story about three brilliant students who are friends and how post college when they join their first jobs, they experience disillusionment with the world,” says Mehra, who still feels disillusioned. The duo will also do another film under Mehra’s banner.
Besides that there’s another script called Production No 7 that has recently been given the go-ahead by Mehra’s company.
Amidst all this hectic production activity and launching new directors, is Mehra’s directing taking a backseat? “No, not at all,” he asserts. “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag will go on the floors next after Sunil’s film with Bachchanji is 80 per cent complete. I have just finished looking at the last draft.”