Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Mehra at the 17th Mumbai Film Festival
|Born||7 July 1963|
|Alma mater||Shri Ram College of Commerce|
|Occupation||Film director, producer, screenwriter|
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (born 7 July 1963) is an Indian filmmaker and screenwriter. He is best known for writing and directing Rang De Basanti (2006) and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013). He is the writer and director of the films Aks (2001) and Delhi-6 (2009).
He was born on 7 July 1963 in Delhi. His father worked for the Claridges hotel in New Delhi. He was a part of the selection camp as a swimmer in the 1982 Asian Games held at New Delhi but was not selected in the final round. He studied at Air Force Bal Bharati School in Delhi.
Personal life and thoughts
Mehra criticised the vote-bank politics behind the introduction of the Mandal Commission by VP Singh, and said it inspired him to pen the script of Rang De Basanti.
Mehra has criticised India's education system as being too marks-driven, without any emphasis on actual achievement. Ridiculing the system, he said: "We'd started work on "96.7", till I realised it had become redundant, and I should work on a subject called 100%. It was about the education system. Perhaps I'll make it once I understand the whole system... perhaps my views are very lopsided right now. But the seeds have been sown,". He further added: "Imagine if Shakespeare goes to DU (Delhi University) and he's told, 'We can't take you based on stories you've written as your marksheet isn't that cool.' Or if a Leonardo, or Rabindranath Tagore goes there, and writes something called "Gitanjali" and they tell him, 'Mr Tagore, it's nice to write things such as 'Where the head is held high', but where is your marksheet?"
Mehra started off by selling vacuum cleaners for Eureka Forbes. In 1986, he established Flicks Motion Picture Company Private Limited, starting his career as an advertisement film maker. He directed scores of television commercials for Indian and international clients, including Coke, Pepsi, Toyota, American Express and BPL. He has also directed music videos such as Aby Baby starring Amitabh Bachchan.
Mehra then gradually transited from being an ad-film maker to a feature film maker. In June 2001, his company released its first full-length feature film titled Aks, starring Amitabh Bachchan. Directed by Mehra, Aks was critically acclaimed for Bachchan's performance, but did not do well at the box office.
Mehra's second film, which he produced and directed, was Rang De Basanti. Released in 2006, it starred Aamir Khan and Soha Ali Khan. Mehra received much acclaim for the film, winning award for Best Director at the 2006 Filmfare Award and National Film Award as well as a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. The film was also officially chosen as India's entry to the Oscars.
Mehra's third release, again produced and directed by him, was Delhi-6 (2009), starring Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Om Puri, Waheeda Rehman, and Atul Kulkarni. The film got lukewarm critical response and its performance at the box office was also very lukewarm.
Mehra then produced (but did not direct) the film Teen They Bhai (2011). Directed by debutant Mrighdeep Lamba, it was a story about three brothers who keep fighting amongst themselves. The film neither won any critical acclaim nor did well at the box-office, and was an all-round disaster.
Mehra's next directorial venture was the biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013) starring Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh, the legendary Indian sprinter. The film, which was produced by a consortium of several producers, was a major commercial and critical success, the second of Mehra's career.
Mehra's latest film is Mirzya (2016), a contemporary retelling of the tragic love story of Mirza & Sahiba. Set in Rajasthan, the film marked the debut of two newcomers, namely Harshvardhan Kapoor (son of actor Anil Kapoor) as Mirzya, and Saiyami Kher, granddaughter of veteran actress Usha Kiran, as Sahiba. Gulzar emerged from a long hiatus to write the screenplay of the film, and Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy were entrusted with the music direction. Released on 7 October 2016, Mirzya proved to be an unmitigated disaster at the box office. Made on a budget of Rs.35 crore (350 million), its total collections over a two-week period amounted to less than Rs.10 crore (100 million). The film, which had been in the planning since at least 2009, and was made over a three-year period, ran for only one week in most theatres, losing nearly all its screens at the end of that period. Nor did it receive positive critical reviews: nearly all reviewers stated that the film failed to touch or involve the viewer in any way, consisting mainly of a series of picture postcard visuals and soaring, rather pretentious music.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures is currently producing two films. Fanne Khan, which is being directed by a debutant director Atul Manjrekar. Fanne Khan is starring Aishwarya Rai Anil Kapoor Rajkummar Rao and is set to release in 2018. Mere Pyare Prime Minister is the other film which has been directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra himself and it is written by Manoj Mairta. It is about an 8 year old boy wanting to build a toilet for his mother.
Mehra was associated with the pre-production phase of several other films, including:
- Bhairavi, about a family deeply seeped in the world of classical music. Mehra has indicated the wish to cast Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, and Abhishek Bachchan (real-life father, mother and son) in the principal roles.
- Raja and the legend of the flute (earlier tentatively titled Paanch Kaurav), a mythical opus on the lines of Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Lord of the Rings, with an estimated budget of Rs. 700 million.
- Mehra has also commissioned author-screenwriter Ashok Banker to script an original adventure thriller tentatively titled Raja. The script draws from ancient Indian mythology and contemporary adventure thrillers and revolves around the search for the lost city of Dwarka. In April 2014, Banker confirmed his working on the script based on a story by Mehra himself.
- Mere Pyare Prime Minister is a film about an 8-year-old boy wanting to build a toilet for his mother.
- Toofan is a film about a heartfelt story of a boxer, 6 years after BMB, Mehra once again eager to pair up with Farhan Akhtar for the lead role. The film is expected to go on the floor in 2020.
- Ghosh, Sankhayan (19 December 2015). "'Mirza-Sahiban is one of the greatest love stories'". The Hindu. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
- SenGupta, Anuradha (8 August 2006). "Being Rakeysh Mehra: Inspiring youth". IBN Live. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- "'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' not about sports: Mehra". The Pioneer. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "Milkha Singh passes on the baton". The Times of India. 22 February 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "Biography for Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra". IMDb - Internet movie database. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- Sharma, Garima (22 November 2011). "Studying is now like a race: Rakeysh Mehra". The Times of India. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- "Rang De Basanti chosen for Oscars". BBC. 26 September 2006. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- Amin, Ruhail (3 February 2011). "No more big budgets for Rakeysh Mehra". Glamsham.com. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- Babbar, Sonakshi. "Sonam is a special girl: Rakeysh Mehra". Hindustan Times. 26 September 2011. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- "Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra: Gave ample time to Harshvardhan, Saiyami Kher to grasp their characters in 'Mirza Sahibaan'". IBN Live. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "I just tell stories and tell them to the best of my ability: Rakeysh Mehra". The Times of India. 16 August 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
- "Now, I'm experimenting with song and dance". Mumbai Mirror. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
- "Rakeysh Mehra goes from Delhi 6 to Punjab". IBN Live. 6 June 2009. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Rakeysh Mehra's secret plans with three Bachchans. Sify.com (14 November 2007). Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- "61st National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. 16 April 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- "List of winners of 59th Filmfare Awards". 24 January 2014. movies.ndtv.com/. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- "List of winners of Screen Awards 2007". 24 January 2014. www.awardsandshows.com/. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
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