In June this year, reports started doing the rounds that Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has finalised his next directorial. Speculatively, the filmmaker has roped in south star Suriya to play the lead role in a mythological period drama revolving around Karna from the epic, Mahabharata. The film is all set to mark Suriya’s debut in the Hindi film industry and is set to go on floors early next year. What cemented the reports was Mehra’s reply under Suriya’s Instagram post wherein the latter shared the title look of his next film, Kanguva.
Addressing it, Mehra, in an exclusive chat with News18 says, “I love the media. They know things before I do (laughs). There are three subjects I’m working on right now. Karna is definitely one of them. Let’s see which goes on floors first.”
The Toofan (2021) and Delhi 6 (2009) director goes on to reveal that he’s currently working on a bunch of projects. Without divulging details, he shares, “The idea is to make all of them but it’s all about what the universe conspires. There are a lot of variables involved to make a film. It’s also got to do with your headspace, if you’re ready to do a film at that point of time in your life.”
Years back, Mehra had stated that he intends on making two biopics based on Swami Vivekananda and Mother Teresa. So, does he still plan on directing them? “I’ll make them when I’ve the courage. It takes a lot of courage to attempt Vivekananda and ten times more courage to attempt Mother Teresa. They’re game changers and social reformers. They actually gave their lives for others,” he remarks.
At present, Mehra is waiting for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, which recently clocked a decade, to re-release in theatres on August 6. Based on the life and times of Milkha Singh, the film starred Farhan Akhtar and was a commercial and critical success when it hit the screens in July 2013. Talking about its release on the big screen after ten years, Mehra says, “It will re-release across 30 cities in PVR theatres. There’s something very special about it. The film has been adapted in Indian sign language for the deaf and dumb. Those who couldn’t experience the film earlier will now be able to do that.”
Last month, he also attended a screening of the film that was graced by Singh’s family members. “I’ve most definitely kept in touch with his family, including his children Jeev Milkha Singh and Sonia. In fact, we recently had a special screening where both of them were invited. It was to honour the memory of Milkha Singh, like a shraddhaanjali for him. The entire cast and crew was present,” he shares.
Speaking about the impact that the film left, Mehra points out, “The film has grown and keeps growing. It has inspired people around the globe. When Carl Lewis saw it, he presented his golden baton which he won in the 400m relay in the LA Olympics of 1984 to Milkha sir. He didn’t know Milkha sir but was inspired by him. There are so many stories I come across and so many people I meet all over the world who share how personal Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is to them and how it has uplifted them when they feel down and out.”
But is there anything that he wishes to change about the film? “Once you’ve made a film or told a story or any piece of art for that matter and it goes out in the public domain, it doesn’t remain yours. The film isn’t mine, it belongs to the people now. If they want to change something, they can most certainly do it or tell me about it (laughs). I feel like I’m just a spoke in the wheel now,” Mehra states with a smile.