Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is an Indian filmmaker and screenwriter. He is best known for writing and directing Rang De Basanti (2006), for which he won Best Director awards at the 2006 Filmfare Awards and National Film Awards and received a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. He is also the writer and director of the films Aks (2001) and Delhi-6 (2009). He also directed movie Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013) which was well appreciated among both masses and critics. The movie was based on popular Indian athlete Milkha Singh.
He was born in New Delhi, in a Punjabi family in India. His father worked for the Claridges hotel in New Delhi. He was a part of the selection camp as a swimmer in the 1982 Asian Games held at New Delhi but was not selected in the final round. He studied at AIR FORCE BAL BHARTI SCHOOL, Lodi Road, New Delhi. Mehra started off by selling vacuum cleaners for Eureka Forbes. He established Flicks Motion Picture Company Private Limited in 1986, starting his career as an advertisement film maker. He has directed scores of television commercials for Indian and international clients such as Coke, Pepsi, Toyota, American Express and BPL. He has also directed music videos such as Aby Baby starring Amitabh Bachchan. He then transited from being an ad-film maker to a feature film maker.
In June 2001, his company released its first full-length feature film titled Aks, starring Amitabh Bachchan. Aks was moderately successful but was critically acclaimed for the Bachchan's performance in the film. His next release titled Rang De Basanti was released in 2006 and starred Aamir Khan and Soha Ali Khan. The film was a huge hit in India and did very well overseas. He received much acclaim for the film, winning Best Director awards at the 2006 Filmfare Award and National Film Award as well as as BAFTA Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film The film was also officially chosen as India's entry to the Oscars.
Mehra's last released film as a director, Delhi-6, was in 2009 starring Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Om Puri and Atul Kulkarni among many other actors. The film got lukewarm critical response and did not perform very well at the box office.
Mehra is working on another film titled Bhairavi about a family in the world of classical music where he wants to cast Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan in principal roles, and another film, Raja and the Legend of the flute (earlier tentatively titled Paanch Kaurav) - a mythical opus on the lines of Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Lord Of The Rings, with an estimated budget of Rs.700 million. In 2009, Mehra was also reportedly working on a film based on the tragic love story of Punjab's Mirza-Sahibaan, with Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor. He then produced the film Teen They Bhai in 2011, a film about three brothers who keep fighting amongst themselves, which was directed by Mrighdeep Singh Lamba. However, the film neither won critical acclaim nor did well at the box-office.
In February 2012, he started working on directing Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh in a biopic on the Indian athlete, who sold Mehra the story of his life for 1. The story for the film was reportedly brought to Mehra by the son of Milkha Singh, Jeev Milkha Singh. He has denied reports that he is looking to shoot the film in Lahore, and has planned to shoot it in Delhi, Rome, Tokyo and Melbourne. The film would also star Sonam Kapoor and would feature music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
Mehra bought Milkha Singh's shoes with which he raced the 1960 Rome Olympics from an auction in Mumbai in February 2012 for 2.4 million (US$37,000) and then returned it back to him to gift it to Farhan Akhtar. He is planning to make an adventure thriller with Imran Khan. The movie is said to be inspired from the popular Hollywood movie series Indiana Jones and revolves around the discovery of the lost city Dwarka, the kingdom of Lord Krishna. While the movie is still in it's initial stages, it is set to release in 2014.