April 14, 2024

A decade ago, filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra gave one of the most memorable sports biopic ever made in Indian cinema, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. The film catapulted the career of Farhan Akhtar, bagging him many awards. His career graph changed after the film and so did the scenario of the Indian film industry pertaining to sports films. 

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra on 10 years of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

Celebrating 10 years of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, we indulged in an exclusive conversation with the filmmaker who gave us a deeper insight into the film. Based on Indian athlete and Olympian Milkha Singh, Mehra shares that it was the late athlete’s complete trust in him that made the film special. “He gave me the rights to make a film on his life for Re 1 and then he directly saw the film. He showed complete trust in me. There is never 99 percent trust, it’s either there or not,” he insists. Mehra adds that he feels happy and grateful that Milkha ji was alive to see the film.

The film started a trend of sports biopics in Indian films and Mehra does feel happy about it. “There is a sense of pride but more than that there is gratification and a whole lot of other feelings because of the acceptance the audience showed to it. I get messages even today from people about the film. People have passed this film from one generation to another. That makes me happy,” he shares. 

On lack of success post BMB…

Post Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Mehra directed 3 more films- Mirzya, Mere Pyaare Prime Minister and Toofaan. But none get the same acceptance and recognition as his 2013 directorial. But Mehra has no qualms about it. “I don’t think on those lines. Every film gets its due at some time. The beauty of setting a bar is you know you are going to hit it. It happened with Rang De Basanti and it happened with Bhaag Milkha Bhaag,” he asserts. 

However he does feel disappointed that Toofan couldn’t make it to the big screen. But he also feels grateful as the OTT platform took the film to a wider audience. He believes it was a story that needed to be told and irrespective of the outcome, he is proud of the film.

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra on his next film

So, when asked about what’s the next thing that has fascinated him, he has a quirky reply. “I am like a child in an ice cream shop. You want it all but you can only have one flavour at a time,” he responds, adding he wants to dabble in mythology, comedy, drama and a lot more. So, has he chosen his next flavour? “It will take me 3 more years to come with my next film. I do take 4-5 years between films “

There has been chatter about his next being a story on the mythological figure from Mahabharat, Karna. But he doesn’t delve into it. However, when pointed out that there have been too many casting stories done on the film including the names of Shahid Kapoor and Suriya, he quips, “I think I should fire my casting director then, because the media is doing the casting for me.” But he accepts that it’s a part of the industry and it doesn’t hamper his work process. He reveals that he begins the casting process for his films only when he is done with 3 songs. As that means he is done with the scripting way back. Currently, two of his films are under casting process as he informs.

As for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, the team celebrated the milestone of 10 years by organising a special re release of the film on August 6. A special screening was held on July 26 which was attended by the cast and crew from the film as well as Milkha Ji’s family. What makes it more special is that it was adapted into Indian Sign Language as well for the deaf community to enjoy it. 

Also Read: Not Shahid Kapoor but this actor to play Karna in Rakeysh Mehra’s next?

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