Cinema, just like any other field has always been evolving into something bigger and better and when it comes to Bollywood, both films and film makers have taken a giant leap to revolutionize the standard of films made over the decades.
This silent revolution that has spread over the last decade has seen a number of unconventional directors. The generation has seen the likes of directors such as Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Vishal Bhardwaj, Abishek Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Rajat Kapoor, pump an unbelievable degree of class, sense and character into films, which has ensured Hindi films cater to all types of audience.
Our today’s mini rail journey focuses on the much talked and appreciated director, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, his films, style direction, story patterns, characterizations and what makes his films earn the name and fame they do.
Based on the quality of the films Mr. Mehra has made, we compare his tenure in Bollywood to the short and entertaining Deccan Queen express that shuttles between Mumbai and Pune, which I enjoyed the most as a kid.
Let the Journey Begin
The First Station and Not the Perfect first impression (Karjat) – Aks
Starting with a dark psycho-killer based thriller in 2001, the days when such thrillers were not much enjoyed an appreciated by the Indian audience, Mr. Mehra made his directorial debut and as expected him and the film, both went unnoticed, much similar to the station in the adorable rail journey.
Starring talents like Amitabh Bachchan, Manoj Bapai and Raveena Tandon, the movie went on to amass critic appreciation but did not stand out commercially. The film also featured a vivid range of musical tracks by director Anu Malik, but failed to make an impression.
The Second Stop and The First Nail in The Coffin (Lonavala) – Rang De Basanti:
If Aks did not work well with the money crunching, Rang De Basanti over compensated for it. The movie correlated brilliantly between the legends of Chandrashekhar Azaad, Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan and a bunch of youngsters who were both, dejected and frustrated over their friend’s death and the government trying to cover it up with false claims.
The film spread like wild fire and earned Rakeysh Omrpakash Mehra the name he has today. Rang De Basanti stars some great actors like Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi, Waheeda Rehman, Atul Kulkarni and R. Madhvan, along with fascinating music from A.R. Rahman, which made the film much more attractive and noteworthy. The film is noteworthy to be compared to the much toured station of Lonavala, we all are well aware about.
Teen Tigada Kaam Bigada (Shivajinagar) – Delhi 6:
The next after Rang De Basanti was expected to be something good quality and refreshing, but what came instead was Delhi 6. The film once again featured 21 different characters, 10 widely loved and adored songs from the sound box of A.R. Rahman and some well-lit up scenes in the streets of Delhi, which was the perfect Rakeysh Omprakash mehra template.
The film focused on the then boiling issue of Hindu-Muslim unity and by now the theme shift towards the taboos in the societies and nationalism was quite evident.Despite most of its scoring points, the movie shattered the viewers and failed due to its feeble script and some distorted acting performances.
The journey has been full of ups and downs till now. If the first half was not remarkably great the connecting part was too awesome to be forgotten, followed by another not much wanted segment.
The Moment of Bliss and the final stop (Pune) -Bhag Milkha Bhag:
The first of the biopic genre to spin out a 100 crores, Bhag Milkha Bhag was the next big thing for Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. The film had every characteristic of the Omprakash Mehra label, right from multiple characters to well organized and enjoyable music.
By his fourth film, Mr. Mehra had chosen the Northern part of India as his canvas. The film featured some breath taking shots from parts of Ladakh in the background with sensational acting performances and the well scripted story of Milkha Singh.
The Analysis of The Journey
Now, if you have keenly observed all movies from our man under scrutiny, you will realize, Mr. Mehra loves to direct movies with a lot of actors involved. While Aks shuffled around 14 characters, his second flick Rang De Basanti featured 16, followed by Delhi 6 and Bhag Milkha Bhag with a wide variety of actors.
In the recent years, not many directors have been able to play around with multiple characters on the screen, but with someone who can script bold and well scripted charters, multi starrer films are the perfect genre.
The Western Ghats View (Music Box):
Music has been the soul of Bollywood films, whether it be the black and whites or the colour, music has been the essence of Hindi Cinema.
Besides an affinity to build strong characters, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra made sure his love for music is thoroughly expressed in his first two films. While Aks featurd 8 songs that went without notice in the B town, the successor, Rang De Basanti, went on top the charts with 10 prodigious hits.
As the genius of Mr. Mehra progressed, his later releases Delhi 6 and Bhag MIlkha Bhag expressed his love for music even more with record breaking albums.
The en-route Tunnels (General Theme):
The earlier a director finds his path in Bollywood, the easier it is for him to make a mark in the industry. Mr. Mehra’s first film did not do much justice to his talent, but as he moved on, his eye caught the attention for the social mishaps in our society.
Starting with the MIG airplane scandals to the Hindu-Muslim divide in the society, Mr. Mehra shuffled his films around social issues and the feeling of patriotism.
The Short and Crisp 4 hour journey (The Flavour of Love):
A director who can make love stories look good on the silver screen always makes it big in Bollywood.
Right from Yash Chopra to Karan Johar, Bollywood has never had scarcity of directors making intimidating love stories. For Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, most of his films circled around social problems and politics, but he made sure, that the tangy flavour of love, though short, was always a part of his films.
Whether it was a psycho thriller or a patriotic grace like Rang De Basanti, a love story was always the part of a Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra film.
The View Outside the Window (Cinematography and Locations):
Cinematography, the art which merges acting and the camera work is an essential part of a director’s dish. Rakeysh Ompraksh Mehra’s films have always ensured delight to the viewers, whether it be the acting or the locations and shots in his films.
Most of his films have been picturized in the Northern sector of the country, ranging from the streets of Delhi and Punjab to the open lands of Ladakh. With his go to man, binod Prashan handling the cinematograph33ic department in most of his films, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s eye for locations and lucrative screenplay enhance the quality of his films.
The Next Stop – Mirzya
After the success of his first ever bipic, bhag Milkha bHag, Rakeysh omprakash Mehra goes onto recreate the legend of Mirza Sahibaan in his next venture Mirzya. The movie features a new set of actors, but the trailers promise well-lit scenes and a bundle of irresistible music from the bhangra King, Daler Mahendi. However, despite Mr. mehra’s eye for the art and the brilliant display of Rajasthan’s folk art, the film had nothing much to offer.