July 28, 2021 2:59:22 pm
Toofan director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s autobiography The Stranger in the Mirror released on July 27. In this book, co-written by Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta, the filmmaker details his journey in advertising as well as the film industry, which includes making of the movies too. In a newly released excerpt, Mehra shares how superstar Aamir Khan’s demand to be paid double the amount, Rs 8 crore, in case the film was delayed, helped him make the movie before deadline.
Showering praise on his Rang De Basanti star, Mehra stated, “He imbibed the soul of DJ and Chandrashekhar Azad and gave his own interpretation to it, ranging from the sublime to the mundane qualities of the character. Bharathi (the filmmaker’s wife) had given me a quote which she had read, ‘There are two primary choices in life. Either you let things be the way they are. Or take responsibility for changing them.’ I sent Aamir the same as a one-line brief for his character impetus.”
Elaborating on what Khan’s clause was, the director went on to add, “Aamir is a visionary and understands everything that is going wrong or right with the creative process. Sometimes, tough decisions like ‘let’s shoot for 10 more days’ became easy because Aamir backed the need to do it. Also, he had no ego about whose scene it was. If the scene belonged to the other boys, he would happily stay in the background because the film’s narrative was the Bible that could not be tampered with. Aamir’s cinematic understanding remains unparalleled in our industry. Without his nod, RDB would have been another dreamer’s script gathering the dust of apathy and inertia. While signing on the dotted line, Aamir included a clause, which was the reason I ended up making the movie on time in the first place. Here’s an example: ‘If my fee is 4 crore and you don’t pay me on time, then you’ll have to pay me 8 crore for defaulting,’ he had said. I had never even seen 8 crore till then.”
Mehra also revealed how Daniel Craig had auditioned for a part in Rang De Basanti, but couldn’t do the film as he was also being considered to be the next James Bond at the time.
Rang De Basanti released in 2006 and went on to gather both critical and commercial acclaim.
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