As I kick-start the conversation with filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, he throws a shocking statistical revelation.
“Do you know that 50% of the rapes that happen in the country are due to women going out in open for defecation? How disturbing is this. It saddens me to know that it is just not just about sanitation or hygiene, it is also about basic women security that we are preventing by now giving them basic privacy,” says Mehra in a concerned tone as he gears up for the release of his sixth feature film.
The film tells the story of a kid (played by Om Kanojiya) who reaches out to the Prime Minister of the country requesting basic sanitation facilities after his mother (Anjali Patil) is raped.
“The film brings to fore the social issue of rape and violation, and women will definitely relate to it,” says Mehra, “That said, I am trying to send home the message to everyone out there, be it men or women. We need to change our core mentality around such prevalent issues. That said, I haven’t made the narrative too heavy on mind or heart. I have tried telling the story as entertainingly as possible.”
This is the reason why in the film there is a romantic angle featuring the leading lady Anjali Patil as well, along with the Holi number Bajaa Bajaa Dhol Bajaa. Incidentally, this one too is a recreated version of Asha Bhosle sung Are Ja Re Hat Natkhat which was composed by C. Ramchandra for the 1959 film Navrang. The song is now been heard exactly 60 years after its release.
As for the core theme of the kid’s journey to the corridors of the Parliament no less, there is a certain adventure element that comes in which makes Mere Pyare Prime Minister quite different from Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s earlier outings that have ranged from Rang De Basanti and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag to Delhi 6, Aks and Mirzya.
“See, right through my career as a director that has spanned almost 20 years now, I have never thought about ‘let’s take this and do that’ so that there is this particular opening number that I will get on a Friday. That’s not the way I operate. There are so many cinemas and everyone has their own cinema. The journey of success and failure will carry on, and I will continue to tell the story that I want to tell,” says Mehra.
We would like to see how it all plays on screen once Mere Pyare Prime Minister, which has Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra tying up with Jayantilal Gada (of Pen) for the film’s theatrical release, hits the screens on the coming Friday.