Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has directed only four films in his over 13 years in Bollywood. He believes good movies deserve the "slow cooking" treatment, but says his new project Mirza Sahibaan will be his "fastest ever".
Mirza Sahibaan is Mehra's ambitious film, through which he is set to launch two newcomers - Anil Kapoor's son Harshvardhan, and Saiyami Kher, the niece of talented actress Tanvi Azmi and granddaughter of yesteryear's leading lady Usha Kiran. (Also read:Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra: USA is the biggest overseas market for Indian cinema
The filmmaker has given his actors ample time to grasp their characters as best as they can for the project, which will go on floors in mid-September. Rakesh intends to release the film towards the end of 2015.
That'll be quite a gap since the release of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, won't it?
"No," he retorted during a conversation with IANS.
He's sort of right - his first feature project Aks came in 2001, followed by Rang De Basanti in 2006, Delhi-6 in 2009 and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag in 2013.
"In fact, Mirza Sahibaan will be my fastest ever film," he said.
"I think the older I'm getting, the faster I'm getting at making films. But I believe movies should be given the time they deserve. The slow cooking formula works in order to tell a good story on screen," added the 50-year-old. (Also read:
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That is why, he says, his projects Raja and the Legend of the Flute and Casual Kamasutra, are long-pending.
" Raja and the Legend of the Flute has been with me for over six years, and even Casual Kamasutra has been in the works. I pick them up and leave them until I get more and more clarity on the scripts. I like to go with my pace to give a project everything that it needs," said Rakesh, who was recently in the capital.
He was here to collect the National Award for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag - best popular film providing wholesome entertainment.
It was a moment of glory for him.
"It's a hat-trick of sorts," he said as he recalled that Rang De Basanti was adjudged the best popular film providing wholesome entertainment at the 53rd National Film Awards ceremony, while his movie Delhi-6 won the Nargis Dutt award for best feature film on national integration at the 57th edition of the event.
If Rakesh had his way, he would have brought former athlete Milkha Singh, on whose life, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is based, to collect the award from President Pranab Mukherjee when the ceremony was held here on May 3.
Though that couldn't happen, Mehra said he was "happier for Milkha Singh" when he had first heard that the Farhan Akhtar-starrer was chosen for the honour.
"Milkha Singh's story deserved to be told to the world at large," he said, adding that making movies which "reach out to the masses, and without compromising on values, is a challenging zone" for him to be in.