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Rang de Delhi

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra on his latest film Delhi 6 and more in a conversation with Hiren Kotwani.

entertainment Updated: Jan 30, 2009 20:05 IST
Hiren Kotwani
Hiren Kotwani
Hindustan Times

For a film on Delhi, you shot most of

Delhi 6

on a set in Jaipur. Why?

I can shoot for a week or two in Delhi.. beyond that, it would be inconvenient.

So we chose Sambhar, a small town near Jaipur. The streets are similar to Delhi, except that it’s flat while the capital is



Delhi 6


Well, I’ve delved into my childhood but it’s not my story. It’s about a man who comes to India with his grandmother. And the short trip turns out to be the longest journey of his life.

The monkey man menace in Delhi is believed to have inspired the film.

It’s just a device I’ve used to tell a story.

You spoke to Hrithik Roshan, Siddharth, Imran Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Akshay Kumar before Abhishek Bachchan signed up for the lead.

I had given Abhishek the script before

Rang De Basanti

and he had liked it. But when I gave him the revised draft, he didn’t have dates. So I spoke to others.. I was even auditioning guys in L A, New York, South Africa and Australia. But

baat bani nahin

. I always saw Abhishek as Roshan Mehra.

Siddharth was upset for being kept on hold.. he lost out on several other projects..

Shatrughan Sinha was to do Sholay.. Danny (Denzongpa) was to play Gabbar Singh. But nobody remembers that. What matters is whom the film chose.

Apparently, Hrithik Roshan and Ranbir Kapoor had reservations about a masturbation scene.

Wow! I don’t know what you’ve been reading. It’s a simple family film, with a U certificate. No such scene fits into the storyline.

Did you sign Sonam to have star kids as the lead pair?

I didn’t want any star kids. I was looking for an all-Indian girl when a friend suggested Sonam. I met her reluctantly. We spoke for six-seven hours. I didn’t need to screen test her. She is brilliant.

Your wife Bharathi is creative producer and editor. Any professional differences?

She is the leading member of the think tank comprising Prasoon Joshi, Binod Pradhan and A R Rahman. During RDB, she tendered her resignation.. because she didn’t want a particular scene. We had a vote and I won. But I removed the scene since she was more important to the film. Take out Bharathi and you have half the film. We have healthy disagreements. If everyone agrees, then something is wrong and you must change the team you’re working with.

You have a couple of scripts ready, like

Paanch Kaurav


Samjhauta Express..

what next?

I’ve no clue. I want to wait a month after

Delhi 6

. The time is right for Samjhauta Express but that issue has been addressed in Delhi 6. For now, I’ve burnt the script. Paanch Kaurav is ready on paper. But deep down I have another idea.. I might make that first.

You were also planning Bharavi with the Bachchans.

Not right now.

At one time there was talk that you’d direct

Krrish 2

for Rakesh Roshan.

We discussed it.. but I wanted to make

Delhi 6

first. It’s not happening now.

What’s happening to the biopic on Guru Dutt? Aamir Khan was to play the lead, right?

Nasreen Munni Kabir has written a lovely script. I really want to do it.. but I can only tell after

Delhi 6

. Aamir will fit in very well. But I have to be one with the script before I decide to make it.

In a recent interview, Manoj Bajpai expressed unhappiness with your editing of his scenes in



That was a beautiful phase.. it made us thick friends. I’ll have to see the interview to comment.

He also said that you had spoken to him about Aamir Khan’s role in RDB, but didn’t get back to him after UTV stepped in as co-producers.

Yes, I had spoken to him about


, and we had a very clear discussion. Anyone would be upset if he likes something and isn’t a part of it. UTV stepped in about a month before shooting started.