Daniel Craig auditioned for the role of British jailer in Rang De Basanti, but James Bond came to call him


Daniel Craig had auditioned for the role of British jailer who walks freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev to be hanged in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Basanti Rank but ultimately could not appear in the film as he was also considered the next James Bond at that time.

Mehra, previously a commercial filmmaker, says he wanted to create world cinema and wanted the backend to be handled with perfection and discipline. He was able to bring in David Reid and Adam Bowling, who had two cult classics behind them as executive producers – Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000).

The London-based duo loved the script by Rang De Basanti, sold their house for rent and went to India to edit the film, Mehra says. “They were responsible for casting Alice Patten and Steven Mackintosh for the roles of Sue and James McKinley, respectively. I remember very well that one of the people who auditioned for the role of James McKinley, the young jailer who accompanies Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev to be hanged, was none other than the current James Bond, Daniel Craig ” , Mehra remembers in her autobiography The Stranger in the Mirror.


rank of basanti, rank of basanti independence day, film rank of basanti, film rank of basanti, rank of basanti poster A poster of Rang De Basanti.

Craig went through David and Adam.

“Daniel Craig was my first choice, but he asked if we could schedule some time as he was also considered the next James Bond. The rest, as they say, is history,” says the filmmaker critically acclaimed as Rang De Basanti, Delhi-6 and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

He also writes about how he nearly finalized Peter Gabriel, one of the founding members of British rock band Genesis, to work on Rang De Basanti, but something in him told him AR Rahman should do it.

“RDB’s music was the soul of the film; the songs created by AR have become de facto national anthems, ”he says.


The Stranger in the Mirror, co-written by marketing author Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta and published by Rupa, is peppered with anecdotes from Mehra’s life, from the days of the chai-biscuit’-inn to the burst. proverbial champagne.

The book features first-person accounts of some of the most prolific names in Indian cinema and advertising – Waheeda Rahman, AR Rahman, Manoj Bajpayee, Abhishek Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Sonam Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, Ronnie Screwvala, Atul Kulkarni, R Madhavan, Divya Dutta and Prahlad Kakar. It has a preface by AR Rahman and an afterword by Aamir Khan.

Perhaps for the first time, QR codes are provided in a book for an enhanced reading experience. Readers can scan the codes in the book and it will lead to a particular scene or song in the movie concerned.

In the book, Mehra also mentions his love for the sport and how he nearly joined the Indian swim team at the 1982 Asian Games.

“I was the youngest on the team and made it to the final training camp for the contingent that trained for the Asian Games. My teammates eventually won bronze at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi. Although I was never a part of the final Asian Games national team, sport was and continues to be a way of life, ”the director, who has directed sports films like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and his last Toofaan, said.

Of his association with AR Rahman, he writes: “One of the greatest joys of my life has been being inside the recording studio when AR is creating one of my songs, not because I feel the need to guide, but because I love to see his creative genius at work.

“AR understands something very basic: There is only one truth when you make a movie – that you make this one movie. Music, editing, cinematography, art direction, wardrobe, lyrics, actors, etc. must all tell the same story. They all have to serve the film and the director’s job is to remind each artist of the vision that everyone is working on, ”Mehra said of the Oscar-winning actor he also worked with in Delhi-6.

Mehra also mentions how he planned to cast Abhishek Bachchan in a movie called Samjhauta Express, but that didn’t materialize.

Before filming the first show in Ladakh, Jaya Bachchan called Mehra to tell her that Refugee will be Abhishek’s first film, not Samjhauta Express.

Mehra was “deeply disappointed and dejected” and said he would never do Samjhauta Express. He took the script and all the research, the location photos, the wardrobe tests and burned them in a bonfire on his patio on the barbecue stove.

“I understood (Abhishek’s) decision rationally. My screenplay involved Abhishek playing a Pakistani sponsored terrorist in his first film, which went against the grain of how Indian audiences perceive his hero… I couldn’t help but wonder: what is the good launching pad for an actor with a gargantuan heritage like Abhishek? ” he writes.

The director and Abhishek Bachchan, sons of veteran stars Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan, later worked together in Delhi-6, which was released nine years after the actor’s first film, Refugee (2000).

Mehra also talks about how mirrors always fascinated him in the creative process.

“There is a movie outside of the movie I’m making. I don’t even know how I’m going to frame my next shot. So I let go of the feeling of wanting to know. Suddenly, the creation becomes transparent.

Mirrors, he says, are more than a way to check makeup as they reveal the guts of his soul. He used the mirror in his films like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Mirzya and Rang De Basanti.

In Delhi-6, he says “I used the mirror to express my anger and my anxiety towards society in general”.


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