It’s natural for industry folk to be nervous about their film. Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra concedes that he’s no different. So what if he’s had to postpone the release of his forthcoming production, Teen Thay Bhai, from February to April 1, due to the Cricket World Cup. The director of films like Rang De Basanti (2006) and Delhi 6 (2009) explains that this time as a producer, his responsibilities are different.
Elaborating on his decision to just produce a film, Mehra says it’s been his dream to do so since Delhi 6. “The script has been written by Megdeep and Gautam, who pitched it to me as a director-writer team. Within two minutes, I said yes to it. Besides, it’s unlike the movies I make as a director,” he says, adding, “It’s a slapstick comedy about three brothers who can’t see eye to eye but have been brought together by their grandfather’s will.”
Point out to him that having worked with big names like Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan and Aamir Khan, one would have expected his next, after Delhi 6, to feature another top star. So one is surprised that he opted to produce Teen Thay Bhai, featuring Om Puri, Deepak Dobriyal and Shreyas Talpade. The producer argues that despite making the biggest blockbusters, Raj Kapoor also made Ab Dilli Door Nahin (1957). “Omji, Deepak and Shreyas suited the roles perfectly. Given the age difference, the eldest brother is a fatherly figure. And their chemistry, or the lack of it, becomes pivotal for the story to be told,” he smiles.
Enthusing that there’s as much fun in producing a movie as there is in directing one, the filmmaker equates the role to “almost mothering a project.” He reasons, “You’ve to be more responsible for the way it grows.” Apart from producing Teen Thay Bhai and a Hindi remake of the Belgian film, Everybody’s Famous, to be helmed by Sunil Pandey, Mehra’s attention is on Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, his biopic on Milkha Singh, popularly known as The Flying Sikh.
It’s been almost a year since he announced it, and the filmmaker concedes, “We were signing on actors, so it was important to announce it then. After that, Prasoon Joshi was researching and writing the script,” he says, denying having approached Akshay Kumar to play the lead role. “That’s a market rumour. I’ve left it to Bharti (wife Bharti Mehra), who’s asked for a month to decide who we should cast. Then we should be in a better position to say whether we have found our Milkha,” he concludes.