Rakeysh Mehra finds awards system funny

Dec 19, 2006 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Dec 20 (IANS) Bollywood filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, whose "Rang De Basanti" is India's official entry to the Oscars, is more amused than exasperated by the award for best film and best director being split into two.

The awards season has begun in right earnest and the outcome of the Global Indian Films Awards, held recently in Malaysia, has left its own trail of mixed responses.

The 'best film' title going to "Lage Raho Munna Bhai" has evidently left Mehra, who got the best director award, a little dissatisfied.

"These things happen. I've no quibble with 'Lage Raho Munna Bhai' getting honoured. It's a fine film.

"All I can say is, there're some strange things happening in this world. I'm more amused than anything else. But I'm baffled by some of the categories of awards. But no complaints! Kuala Lumpur was fun and the hospitality was heart-warming."

Mehra's joy at the songs of "Rang De Basanti" going to the Oscars to compete in the best original song category, knows no bounds.

"Isn't it fantastic for A.R. Rahman that three of his songs are going to the Oscars? And two of them are from my film. I'm pretty certain Indian popular music is destined to make an international impact, provided it's divorced from our cinema.

"But since the music remains wedded to the screenplay its impact is often somewhat restricted. We need to liberate our music from cinema."

In the same breath Mehra admits there's certain universality to the songs in "Rang De Basanti".

"When Lataji (Mangeshkar) sings 'Luka chuppi', it's every mother singing to every child. 'Khalbali' is a song that expresses the youth's anxieties."

Even as he readies himself for a prolonged season of awards, Mehra is immersed in pre-production work for his next film "Delhi 6" to be shot April onwards in the capital. The cast, however, is yet to be finalised.

"But locations and all other details are fully worked out," clarifies Mehra.

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