Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is a happy man. His latest venture, Bhaag Milka Bhaag, which is based on the life of celebrated Indian sprinter Milkha Singh, has received critical acclaim and done brisk business at the box office.
Reminiscing the days of making the biopic, Mehra shares, “Honestly, it was a difficult film to take off. It took four years to get it on the floor. And once we were there, we were so hungry for it. Every day was a gift.”
However, not one to rest on his laurels, Mehra is already planning his next film. And this film, he tells us, is on a subject close to his heart. “I’m doing a film called Mirza next. It is based on the Punjabi folklore of Sahiba and Mirza,” he says, and goes on to share, “I used to watch Ramleela while growing up in Delhi 6 and heard this story of how Sahiba sacrificed her lover Mirza’s life to save her brothers. I’ve to find the answer to why she did that.”
He’s made a biopic and is now planning a romantic tragedy based on a Punjabi folklore, so, does he think the time is right for Bollywood filmmakers to take risks?
“Risk is relative. It is a way of life. But it is a wonderful time to try out something which you don’t know but have a strong feeling about. It is an amazing period to take a leap,” he shares. Very few people know that Mehra was an avid swimmer and made it to the final round in the 1982 Asian Games selection camp.
So why didn’t he pursue a career in sports?
“I think, rozi roti aur kuch nahi. Filmmaking happened to me and I embraced it. I was a door to door salesman when I started my life. Life keeps happening,” he signs off.