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Sunday, Aug 25, 2019

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra: I like Lodi Garden in the evening

Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra says he loves to visit Lodi Gardens when in Delhi, and names books that he would like to adapt for the screen.

bollywood Updated: Jun 26, 2018 17:16 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is born and brought up in Delhi.
Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is born and brought up in Delhi. (PHOTO: Shivam Saxena/HT)

The moment he lands in Delhi, it’s not just the memories of his growing up years and gaining education that come rushing back to filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, but also the desire to visit one specific place in the Capital — Lodi Gardens.

On a recent trip to the city, Mehra did just this. “I went to my school Air Force Bal Bharti (Lodhi Road) in the morning; didn’t go inside but saw how it’s developing. And then went to Lodi Garden. Other than [going to the gardens in the morning] I like Lodi Garden in the evening; when it’s just after sunset. It’s got a different feel. Not many people in the park, it’s not so crowded, and the shadows are growing… It’s got a very romantic feeling to it. Till u see the darkness crawling. I love that,” says Mehra, who has also expressed his love affair with Delhi in his films such as Rang De Basanti (2006) and Delhi-6 (2009).

READ | Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra: People who have fear of expression will never express

“When I come here, and stay at Habitat (Centre, Lodhi Road) it’s a lot more than nostalgia. It’s a sense of belonging. I have drawn so much from this place, from the energy, and [the fact] that you have worked here and [lived] important parts of your life… time of your life, moments you created…,” adds Mehra explaining his complex feelings when he visits the city.

Does he like to visit his alma mater Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), too? “No way! It’s not in the city any more… Dilli ab Dilli me nahi hai (Delhi is no longer as it used to be),” says Mehra, in his usual philosophical style, leaving one to decipher what he said.

Books that Mehra wants to adapt into films

Covers of books that the filmmaker desires to adapt into movies.
Covers of books that the filmmaker desires to adapt into movies.

“I would love to adapt Mrityunjay by Shivaji Sawant. It’s the story of Karna (in Mahabharata) that I always wanted to tell. For me, he’s the greatest hero. It was written in the late 50s and early 60s; [the author] wrote it for 6-7 years, and it’s the story of Karna and his conflicts — He was shunned by everybody including his mother and killed by deceit by the God himself. And he was the son of Sun God. So, I don’t think there a more amazing character I have ever come across, and this is one of the greatest pieces of writing on Karna and on Mahabharata. I hope I’m able to make it… and there will be so much that will reveal. Who will play the character of Karna, depends on when I make the film, now or after 10 years because it will be an expensive film; to create 3000BC completely from scratch. Obviously it won’t be a TV serial kind of feel and look.”

“Other than that, may be Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. It’s very complicated, but should be fun.”

“There’s a book called The Forty Rules of Love is Elif Shafak. It’s beautiful. It’s about love, about a woman who has a teenage daughter and twins, a husband, and well-to-do house. Uski life me to love khatm ho gaya (There’s no love in her life)… Then she finds love. She cannot come to terms with: How can I find love? Mera to sab sahi chal raha hai. But she does. It has one era that’s about Rumi, and one era is today. These eras interest me.”

Interact with the author at Twitter/@HennaRakheja

First Published: Jun 26, 2018 16:52 IST

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