Rakeysh Mehra ecstatic about BAFTA nomination
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's 'Rang De Basanti' couldn't make it to the Oscar nominations, but the director is thrilled that his film has been short-listed for the prestigious British Academy Of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) non-English language award.
Earlier, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Devdas' had got the honour for 'film not in the English language' category.
'Have you seen the other nominations?' Mehra said excitedly.
' 'Rang De Basanti' shares the list with Mel Gibson's 'Apocalypto' and Pedro Almodovar's 'Volver'. We're in excellent company. I spoke to A.R. Rahman in Toronto. He was thrilled. The entire team is over the moon. In fact, we're putting together a documentary on the film where Rahman says 'Rang De...' has changed his career,' Mehra told IANS.
BAFTA held screenings of the film, which has Aamir Khan and Soha Ali Khan playing important roles, in Los Angeles, New York and London.
'I attended those screenings and also the extremely enlightening Q&A sessions after the screenings. We kept talking until 1.30 a.m. In India we'd have gone home. Just goes to show distances are being bridged not just in the corporate world but also in the entertainment business.
'The thing about BAFTA is it's the European counterpart of the Oscars. The Europeans take this award very seriously.'
Mehra is sill receiving congratulatory calls.
'People in London, who informed me, said it was a huge honour for Indian cinema. The foreign-film category is hugely competitive. How do I explain the endless run of 'Rang De Basanti'? I think the emotions there are very basic.
On Feb 11 Mehra is going to be in London for BAFTA with the entire 'Rang De Basanti' team.
But the bifurcation of the best film and best director awards in some of the Indian popular awards, with only one-half going to 'Rang De Basanti', has exasperated Mehra.
'They've 90 categories, somewhere you can see the awards being politicised. Okay, I don't mind if I don't get best director. But how can 'Rang De...' not be awarded for editing or lyrics??
'The lyrics have given the film a poetic perspective. Popular awards are being given out to balance the picture. If a film is good, embrace it, please. By sheer mathematics, if 'Rang De...' gets maximum nominations, it should equal to best film. I'm not annoyed, only amused.'
'Indian cinema is changing. So should the awards. But RDB is representing India at BAFTA. So I'm not complaining.'
On a brighter note, what will Mehra be wearing at BAFTA?
'Anything from my wardrobe, yaar! Are you suggesting a designer? No way. I haven't budgeted for that kind of extravagance.'
On Jan 26 'Rang De...' gets re-released in India.
'It's just 25 prints. To watch it again would be fun.'