Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
|Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra|
|Born||7 July 1963|
|Alma mater||Shri Ram College of Commerce|
|Occupation||Film Writer, Producer, Director|
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); and director of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013).
He was born in New Delhi, in a Punjabi family in India. 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 Bharti School, Lodi Road, New 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?"
Rakeysh Mehra also has a culinary interest – the famous Bauji ka Dhaba in a Gurgaon mall and in The Garden of the Five Senses, New Delhi.
Mehra started off by selling vacuum cleaners for Eureka Forbes. He established Flicks Motion Picture Company Private Limited in 1986, starting his career as an advertisement film maker. He has directed scores of television commercials for Indian and international clients such as Coke, Pepsi, Toyota, American Express and BPL. He has also directed music videos such as Aby Baby starring Amitabh Bachchan.
He then 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. Aks was moderately successful but was critically acclaimed for Bachchan's performances in the film.
His next release titled Rang De Basanti was released in 2006 and starred Aamir Khan and Soha Ali Khan. The film was a huge hit in India and did very well overseas. He received much acclaim for the film, winning Best Director awards 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.
Sight & Sound magazine conducts a poll every ten years of the world's finest film directors to find out the Ten Greatest Films of All Time. This poll has been going since 1992, and has become the most recognised  poll of its kind in the world. In 2012  Cyrus Frisch voted for "Rang De Basanti". Frisch commented: "Corruption became the subject of fierce debate in India after the major success of this film among youngsters."
Delhi-6, Mehera's next release, was in 2009 starring Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Om Puri, Waheeda Rehman, and Atul Kulkarni. The film got lukewarm critical response and did not perform very well at the box office.
Mehra was associated with the pre-production phase of several other films, none of which materialized, as of 2013. Such proposed film included: Bhairavi—about a family in the world of classical music where he wants to cast Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, and Abhishek Bachchan in 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.
In 2009, Mehra was also reportedly working on a film based on the tragic love story of Punjab's Mirza-Sahibaan, with Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor.
He then produced the film Teen They Bhai in 2011, a film about three brothers who keep fighting amongst themselves, which was directed by Mrighdeep Lamba. However, the film neither won critical acclaim nor do well at the box-office.
Mehra is currently working on Mirziya is set in Rajasthan, a contemporary version of Mirza & Sahiba tragic love story starring Harshvardhan Kapoor as Mirza and a debutante as Sahiba. The film screenplay is written by Gulzar, with music composed by Shankar Ehsaan and Loy and dance numbers as well as action scenes.
He 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. The film is scheduled to go into production in 2015.
- 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.
- Babbar, Sonakshi. "Sonam is a special girl: Rakeysh Mehra". Hindustan Times. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- Rakeysh Mehra's secret plans with three Bachchans. Sify.com (14 November 2007). Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- "Rakeysh Mehra goes from Delhi 6 to Punjab". IBN Live. 6 June 2009. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Amin, Ruhail (3 February 2011). "No more big budgets for Rakeysh Mehra". Glamsham.com. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- "I just tell stories and tell them to the best of my ability: Rakeysh Mehra". The Times of India. Aug 16, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-16.
- "Now, I’m experimenting with song and dance". Mumbai Mirror. Jan 2, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-16.
- "61st National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- "List of winners of 59th Filmfare Awards". 24 January 2014. http://movies.ndtv.com/. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- "List of winners of Screen Awards 2007". 24 January 2014. http://www.awardsandshows.com/. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
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