Rang De Basanti is 5!

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By Hindustan Times

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Rang De Basanti (RDB), that released on January 26, 2006, producer-director-writer Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra will have a special screening at PVR Pheonix, today at 7 pm with his cast and crew, followed by dinner at producer Ronnie Screwvala’s residence.

Mehra studied in an Air Force school in Delhi, and would dream of flying a MIG 21 whose model stood in the school compound. When in college, with four friends and a foreigner, he would go to India Gate to salute the soldiers, and fall into the Suraj Kund, drunk.

“One night after passing out of college, I sang songs with my buddies’ younger brothers. Later, in Mumbai, I saw a censored tape of them being beaten up by the Mandal Commission. I read of MIGs crashing. From this grew the story of RDB, a film no one would give me money for till Aamir Khan entered the picture,” he reminisces.

All this, with some never-before-seen stills, will find its way into a book Mehra has been working on for two years. The shooting script will also be released with it this year, along with a documentary directed by his wife Bharti and a Blue-Ray DVD.

The film is on everyone’s must-see list following a poll that listed it as the third greatest film ever, after Mother India and Mughal-e-Azam. It’s playing on TV almost every week. “The Herald, in Europe, in an article, ‘Changing India, Changing Movies’ blamed it for the new-wave India and called me (un) Bollywood,” laughs Mehra, admitting he broke a few cinematic norms.

RDB had no action, no melodrama, romance that ends in death, no nautanki-style choreography and no lip-sync songs. “We were told that we were committing suicide but we went with our conviction. Today, RDB has turned from a movie into a movement, triggering off public marches for justice for Jessica Lall and Arushi Talwar,” he reasons.

Any plans of a sequel? Mehra laughs, “For that I have to be born again.”