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    Mar 2008


    Default Delhi 6 was shot in Jaipur not in Chandni Chowk: Rakeysh Mehra

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    Delhi 6 was shot in Jaipur not in Chandni Chowk: Rakeysh Mehra

    By Subhash K Jha

    Rakeysh Mehra on Delhi 6, speaks about why he had to shift Chandni Chowk to Jaipur.

    You've shot Chandni Chowk in Jaipur?
    Yes. Delhi 6 is set in the walled city of Delhi. But we shot most of it in Sambar. We took over the entire town and recreated old Delhi there. To shoot on location in Chandni Chowk is not impossible. You can do so for a couple of days. But if you do it for prolonged periods you'll end up disrupting normal life.

    The locals won't mind. But Chandni Chowk is very congested. You wouldn't want to stop their lives. We did shoot on location but then we shifted to a fantastic town called Sambar which is 2 hours away from Jaipur. Though it's deserted town the ancestral homes of the people who lived there. They served our purpose beautifully.

    Chandni Chowk is also pivotal to Nikhil Advani's Chandni Chowk To China? What's with this fascination with Delhi?
    That's because it's one of the oldest cities of the world. It's a microcosm of India. It embodies the spirit of older cities like Jaipur, Hyderabad, Amritsar and Patna.

    For me there's no native village. Only Chandni Chowk. It has taken me two other films to get back to my roots in Delhi 6. This would've been my first film. But I'm glad I made the other ones. I learnt so much during Aks and Rang De Basanti. Today I know a bit more about cinema than I did earlier.

    How closely did you recreate Chandni Chowk in Sambar?
    Chandni Chowk is a metaphor for a way of life. So we shot in Chandni Chowk. The rest of Old Delhi we built in Sambar. Sadly we had to dismantle our 'Old Delhi' in Sambar after shooting.

    Absolutely. But we filmmakers are gypsies. We build dreams, and move on. I even tried to buy one of the houses, the one that Waheeda Rehmanj's character occupies in the film. I got really attached to that house. But the owners were too attached to it to part with it.

    Waheedaji is a favourite, isn't it?
    Oh, no ways two ways about it. I had threatened to build my set in front of her house in Mumbai and shoot the whole film there.I must have done something good in my previous life to get to work with her in two films.

    I also got to work with extraordinary actors like Pavan Malhotra, Divya Dutta (what a firepower she is!), Supriya Pathakji Abhishek and Sonam for the first time.

    And Rishi Kapoor?
    He's..I don't have the words for him. He's so fabulous and complete. You wonder how he does it. These wonderful actors are the heart and soul of the film. I'll cherish the experience forever.

    There was so much give-and-take on location. We were all neighbours. We not only worked together we went out for morning walks and cycling, cooking and eating together.

    Must be heartbreaking when it ends?
    Not really. Bonds strengthen after the shooting. I'm still in touch with my crew and cast in Aks and Rang De Basanti. We can't celebrate Diwali and Holi unless we're together. We're all there for one another.

    How important is the background score for a film?
    It can take an ordinary scene and make is extraordinary. On the other hand it can kill an extraordinary scene. But the background music doesn't end my post-production work.

    Somehow a film always gets snatched away before it is ready. There's so much A R Rahman wants to do for Delhi 6. But the film will go out of his hands.

    How satisfying has Delhi 6 been?
    Of my three films so far this has been the most challenging. It's a difficult subject and a rough journey. Delhi 6 works on the conscious and subconscious level. I still haven't completed the journey.

    Rang De Basanti is an impossible act to encore?
    It's a fact about my career that I can't escape. It's part of my growth as a filmmaker. It shifted emotions within me. Luckily for me there're no similarities between Rang De Basanti and Delhi 6.

    Delhi 6 is your most autobiographical film?
    I spent quite a bit of my growing-up years in Chandni Chowk. In Rang De Basanti I drew experiences from my college days. In Delhi 6 I've drawn from my childhood. As you grow older you reflexively gravitate towards your roots. But it's a very contemporary story. The ambience, adventures, tastes and smells from my childhood.

    You put the design for your title-logo to public vote?
    Yes, we had several designs for the Delhi 6 logo. We had nine options. We threw it open to the public.We put it on our Delhi 6 website, Orkut, etc. Over a thousand responded and chose the two logos that I liked the best. Delhi 6 is a people's film.

    The year 2009 is a period of turmoil for our cinema?
    But it's also a period of variety. It's interesting to see such diverse films coming out. I'm reminded of the 1950s when V Shantaram, Guru Dutt, Bimal Roy, Chetan Anand, Vijay Anand and Dev Anand Saab were all doing their own thing.

    They never needed to encroach on one another territory. The masters from the 1950s have shown us the way. We can't pretend to be lost.

    Post 26/11 will audiences find Delhi 6 entertaining?
    The genre is comedy-romance-social drama. Our job is to tell a story. But you've to draw audiences into the story. Entertainment is often confused with momentary pleasure. Cinematic entertainment is far deeper.

  2. #2
    Kal Ho Na Ho
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    Aug 2008



    Thank you very much for sharing with us



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