We have got our hands on exclusive stills of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s upcoming directorial venture ‘Mere Pyare Prime Minister‘ and they look very fresh and very different from any of Rakeysh’s earlier endeavors.
The film is about 4 kids who live in Mumbai slum and share a strong bond of friendship. Rakeysh has kick-started the shoot at real locations which were finalized after the recce of 1 month.
“The subject has been simmering on a slow fire for three years. I’m a Delhi boy and all my films– Rang De Basanti, Delhi 6, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Mirzya—were all set in the North. But I’ve been living in Mumbai since 1988 and seen it transform into a world city. The buildings are taller now but there are still slums around them that have always intrigued me and made me follow the path of Salaam Bombay, Slumdog Millionare and other stories which have grown out of them,” says the filmmaker.
Wondering about these slums, he went into them during a month-long recce and while hanging with kids was amazed at how vibrant life there was despite all the challenges.
“Your mindset is shaped by your perceptions. Someone living in a taller building would look down on the slums and their inmates without realising that someone lived in a highrise would be looking down at them. Ditto developing countries viz-a-viz richer nations. My film is not so much about comparisons as it is a story if people and relationships, survival and not giving up, the endeavor to lead a better life. There is no attempt to overplay or undermine, it’s about seeing this world through different eyes and finding beauty and inspiration in it,” he asserts, pointing out that they started out shooting a Holi song with 200 people and by the time it was over there were 1,000 people around and everyone was drenched in colour.
Another very interesting thing about the film is the title. While the film is about four young friends, the title has Prime Minister in it. Now it is to be seen why it is named like that.
Coincidently, Rakeysh’s 2006 film Rang De Basanti, which was a huge hit back then and became a cult film eventually was also a friendship film. It will be interesting to see him have a fresh take on the subject.
Three years ago, Mehra, with an NGO from Ahmedabad which inspired by Rang De Basanti wanted to do bring about change, visited the Gandhi Ashram in Gandhinagar and after seeing the Mahatma’s model toilets started an initiative to build toilets in municipal schools. “In the first year we build 20, then, over the next two years, we’ve built 800,” says the filmmaker whose eight-year-old protagonist, Kanhaiya aka Kanu wants to build a toilet for his young, single mother Sargam played by National Award winner Anjali Patil.
He goes on to recall that one day when he was looking up the city’s skyline from the slum and chatting with the kids, they zeroed in on one highrise and figured that going by the number of floors, the flats on each floor and the toilets attached to each flat, one building would have at least 1,000 toilets while the 5000 shanties around it didn’t have even a single. “These 10 feet x 10 feet shanties are spotlessly clean with a one-in-all living room, kitchen and bedroom, only no bathroom,” he points out.
With ‘Mere Pyare Prime Minister‘ Rakeysh is coming up with an altogether different plot focusing mainly on slum life.
It would be a visual treat for the audiences to witness this upcoming venture.