Punjabi by heart

Emotional quotient: Director Rakesh Mehta finds stories based on family and relationships fascinating

Emotional quotient: Director Rakesh Mehta finds stories based on family and relationships fascinating

Rakesh Mehta

Known for his hit Punjabi film Ik Sandhu Hunda Si, director Rakesh Mehta gets candid with us and talks about his popular films, how he is spending his days during this tough phase of life and more….

While directing, do you ever feel that something in the script is missing? Did you feel that with Ik Sandhu Hunda Si?

As a director, I didn’t feel anything was missing while directing the movie. But of course, it does happen to almost every director after watching the film after a year or so. We feel that we could do better, shoot an extra scene or something like that. It’s pretty normal.

What kind of scripts and stories are coming your way? What interests you in a story?

I personally like emotional stories and I am certainly making my dream project about a father and a son very soon.

With films like Yaara Ve, Rang Punjab, Nanak and Vaapsi, how has been your journey so far in Pollywood?

Nanak is only on the papers yet. All other movies which I have made, I am quite satisfied with the appreciation I have received. Maybe the box office numbers don’t favour me sometimes but it doesn’t mean that I have made bad films.

Has Covid-19 affected the Punjabi film industry?

Not only films but the entire world has been affected and Punjabi film industry is no exception. The projects are delayed, theatres are closed, shooting are not happening, technicians, supporting actors and other daily workers are also jobless. It’s very sad for everyone.

What will be the future of Punjabi film industry post Covid-19?

Well I can’t predict the future, but I am very optimistic that it will be much better when we come back this time.

What are the three mantras you follow while making a film?

Content, casting and concentration.

Do you think it is a wise decision to resume shoots following the government’s guidelines?

For me it is difficult to shoot following certain guidelines but there are people who are already doing it and I appreciate their efforts.

What are the three things that you have learnt from this lockdown?

First, our needs are very small, second, we can do everything on our own, third, we can live with no dependence.

Do you think OTT is the future?

OTT is an alternative for many small films, which generally don’t get good release dates due to big films’ line-up. OTT has definitely taught everyone a lesson that content

is the most important factor in a film. Now, we can never take the audience for granted. We have to up our game.

Would you like to direct a web series?

Yes, I am working on a web series now.

What changes do you see in yourself post Covid-19?

Self-dependence.

What advice would you give to people to stay safe?

Wear the mask and sanitise yourself.

What are the reasons that Punjabis are popular all over?

We are people with a big heart and survive in every situation.

One place you like to visit in Punjab when you are stressed?

My city, Amritsar.

Which are your favourite Punjabi dishes?

Mutton curry.

Which is the best place to eat Punjabi food in Punjab?

Well, there are many but I would stick to Amritsar.

Is there any Punjabi film, which is close to your heart and why?

Chan Pardesi, Chauthi Koot, 1984, Vaapsi and Yaara Ve.. all these films for their honesty and purity.

Favourite Punjabi songs?

Many, especially songs sung by Kuldeep Manak

Three prominent holy places you like the most?

Of course the Golden Temple, Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara and Gurudwara Nanaksar.

How are you keeping yourself fit these days?

Jogging and walking every day.

What will be your priority after the normalcy returns?

To get back to work.

What are your upcoming projects?

I am currently working on my Hindi web series and my favourite story, both of them will hopefully go on the floors once the pandemic is over.

—Dharam Pal

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