The True Patriot: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra


MUMBAI: His first film ‘Aks’ was way ahead of its time. It was a commercial failure, which almost saw the end of the road for Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. Until it was that one film that changed it all – ‘Rang De Basanti’. As his next, ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ gears up for release tomorrow, there is something deeply patriotic about the filmmaker. 


Whether it’s about his roots with old Delhi, which has made him close to the motherland, or sheer fascination for the armed forces and uniformed men wonderfully explored in his films, ‘Rang De Basanti’ and the upcoming ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra in each of these films evoked strong feelings towards the nation.

In ‘Rang De Basanti’, he chose to show the transformation of a generation and the rebellious side of the Indian youth, the pride of MIG fighters and a leaf from their life, the conspiracies of the government in maligning the honour of these men in the name of politics.

Similarly in the upcoming ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, starring Farhan Akhtar and Sonam Kapoor, the director chooses to talk about India’s greatest sporting legend Milkha Singh. The visuals may seem heroic with a beefed up Farhan Akhtar and might not resemble of Milkha Singh, the character itself, but Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Prasoon Joshi induce a sense of pride and national fervor to moviegoers.

While Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s fascination isn’t restricted to stories around patriotic themes on screen alone, the director always makes sure that his film, even before a theatrical release is watched by the uniformed men.

The circumstances were not quite great during the screening of ‘Rang De Basanti’, where defence personnel thought ‘Rang De Basanti’ put ministers in negative light over the MIG issue.

But Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has put the past to rest and screened ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, for the Indian Armed Forces, a day prior to the film’s nationwide release.

The producers Viacom 18 and ROMP have tied up with UFO Moviez and will be screening the film across 125 Army centres. The makers are aware of the fact that the film was born because of Indian Army. It was at the Indian Army, where Milkha Singh’s talent was nurtured and it’s a matter of huge pride.

Meanwhile, Farhan Akhtar is quite pleased with the gesture and has tweeted:

Looks like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s love for the men in uniform is everlasting. We say, it’s quite a noble gesture, truly saluting the legends!