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'Pay Me Rs 8 Cr': Aamir Khan's Clause Helped Finish 'Rang De Basanti' on Time

How Aamir Khan's demand to double his fee helped complete Rang De Basanti on time.

Updated
Bollywood
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Aamir Khan and Alice Patten in&nbsp;<em>Rang De Basanti.</em></p></div>
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Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s autobiography, The Stranger In The Mirror, hit the stands across the country on 27 July, 2021. Co-written by marketer-author Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta, the book is a multi-dimensional and multi-character narration of Mehra’s life, covering his childhood, personal life, days of working in advertising, and the making of each of his movies. Generously dotted with interesting anecdotes, the book also offers first-person accounts of several noteworthy members of the film industry such as Sonam Kapoor, Waheeda Rahman, Abhishek Bachchan, and Farhan Akhtar to name a few.

The foreword of the book has been written by AR Rahman, while Aamir Khan has penned the afterword.

Here's an excerpt from the book where he talks about Aamir and the making of Rang De Basanti:

In the book I’ll Do It My Way: The Incredible Journey of Aamir Khan by Christina Daniels, Aamir is quoted in this context, ‘I didn’t know whether it was going to work or not.’

But he put himself firmly behind my unorthodox idea and became the character—something he is known to do. And I don’t mean it in a superficial way. He imbibed the soul of DJ and Chandrashekhar Azad and gave his own interpretation to it, ranging from the sublime to the mundane qualities of the character. Bharathi had given me a quote which she had read, ‘There are two primary choices in life. Either you let things be the way they are. Or take responsibility for changing them.’ I sent Aamir the same as a one-line brief for his character impetus.

Avan Contractor created a more urban hairstyle for his character
DJ. This was immediately post the period film
Mangal Pandey and was
a whole new look. Arjun Bhasin, the stylist, worked on the entire cast’s look. Aamir rehearsed his Punjabi dialect and twang to perfection. He became one with the cast and crew—every supreme artist understands that the entire crew has to be elevated to another level to make magic happen. He was paired opposite Alice. She observed his command over the cast when she told BBC, ‘It’s only when you notice how people talk about a person that you realize how important or famous they are. Everyone looked up to Aamir, including the younger actors. He’s a lovely man, incredibly generous and funny.’

<div class="paragraphs"><p>A still from&nbsp;<em>Rang De Basanti.</em></p></div>

A still from Rang De Basanti.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

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Aamir is a visionary and understands everything that is going wrong or right with the creative process. Sometimes, tough decisions like ‘let’s shoot for 10 more days’ became easy because Aamir backed the need to do it. Also, he had no ego about whose scene it was. If the scene belonged to the other boys, he would happily stay in the background because the film’s narrative was the Bible that could not be tampered with. Aamir’s cinematic understanding remains unparalleled in our industry. Without his nod, RDB would have been another dreamer’s script gathering the dust of apathy and inertia. While signing on the dotted line, Aamir included a clause, which was the reason I ended up making the movie on time in the first place.

Here’s an example: ‘If my fee is 4 crore and you don’t pay me on time, then you’ll have to pay me 8 crore for defaulting,’ he had said.

I had never even seen 8 crores till then.

Edited excerpts from The Stranger in the Mirror with by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra with Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta with permission from Rupa Publications

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