Ace Bollywood director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, who is known for spelling magic on screen, has now spilled the beans about much of his work in his biography The Stranger in the Mirror, which has stirred quite the buzz among readers.
In this book, he has also revealed how Hollywood star Daniel Craig ended up auditioning for one of his most critically acclaimed films – Rang De Basanti. Mehra relayed that Craig auditioned for the role of James McKinley in Rang De Basanti, reported the Gulf News.
The Bollywood film, which stars Aamir Khan, Siddharth, Kunal Kapoor, Sharman Joshi, Atul Kulkarni and Soha Ali Khan as college-going students who take on the system, also features scenes revolving around their struggles with India’s battle for independence. It shows the same actors portraying freedom fighters in flashbacks.
“I remember vividly that one of the people who auditioned for the part of James McKinley, the young jailer who walks Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev to be hanged, was none other than current James Bond, Daniel Craig,” Mehra discloses at one point in his book. “Daniel Craig was my first choice but he requested if we could allow some time as he was also being considered to be the next James Bond. The rest, as they say, is history,” the filmmaker adds.
During this time, Craig was little known in Hollywood, with 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider being his biggest commercial success. But in 2005, Craig was contacted by Eon Productions to play Hollywood’s super spy James Bond. He wasn’t sure about the role in the beginning but decided to take it on with Casino Royale, which released in November 14, 2006. Craig’s last appearance as 007 will feature later this year with No Time To Die.
Mehra also unveiled that he had almost locked Peter Gabriel, one of the founding members of the British rock band Genesis, for Rang De Basanti too, but ended up choosing AR Rahman instead. “The music of RDB was the soul of the film; the songs AR created became de facto national anthems,” Mehra adds in his book.
The Stranger in the Mirror is co-written by marketer-author Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta and is out now.
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