Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra believes Indian filmmakers should explore stories that are rooted in the country rather than presenting “American ideas” in local packaging. Mehra, whose films “Rang De Basanti” and “Delhi 6” were lauded internationally, says it was the Indian connect in his stories that made them popular with the audiences abroad.
In an interview, Mehra says, “If we really want the world to see our cinema, we need to tell Indian stories. We need to show real India and not American ideas made in India. My endeavour is to change the western gaze at Indian cinema.”
The director, however, is happy that the new generation in the industry is made of people from all strata of the society and they are keen to go beyond the clichés. “Thankfully, we are discovering stories out of the so called clichéd ‘running around the trees’ or a Switzerland visual. There are millions of stories to be told. Stories coming from the soil will have a social connect,” he adds.
His next directorial venture is “Mere Pyaare Prime Minister”. The movie raises the open defecation issue and sanitation problems in the country, a topic that was also the subject of Akshay Kumar’s latest release “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha”.
Mehra’s film revolves around an eight-year-old boy, Kanu and his mother, who live in a Mumbai slum. On the depiction of India’s reality through slums, Mehra says even though for the “filmmakers have, in the longest time, tried to sell the poverty in the West”, his aim is to focus on the problem that people face daily.
“We have to stop fooling ourselves and living in la la land. If not slums and these issues, what should we tell people about… Should we make movies on item songs or actors dancing in green beautiful lands with ‘dupattas’ flying in the wind? I am not getting too stressed about any criticism. The society is evolving and we need to recognise that. If the story is beautifully told and is inspirational, it will make a mark and do its job.”