Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra says he was intrigued by the folklore of Mirza-Sahiban, and wanted to give a new interpretation to the popular tale to suit the modern world.
He said he wondered why Sahiban sacrificed her lover Mirza ended up in more questions for Mehra, and wondered whether the intensity of these two lovers could resonate even in 2016 because the folk saga has a universal appeal.
In “Mirzya” he is trying to combines two periods of time.
“When I went to Gulzar saab and asked why did Sahiban break Mirza’s arrows, he replied, ‘Let’s find Sahiban and then ask her’. That was the right approach, that let us keep developing the characters. The mystery to me was and still is that why do we hurt those we love the most?
“Also, I wanted to understand can there be eternal love stories today? We have a check-list today about how a lover should be but is it really that simple? Is there a Mirza-Sahiban in today’s times? So, we set the story in 2016, and rather than making it like a period film, we showed how that epic travelled to the present generation,” Mehra said.
The director says that though the film’s essence is Mirza-Sahiban, it’s a story of two contemporary characters Adil and Suchi.
As for the answer that he waited for more than three decades, Mehra says, “I have found my answer. I found my Sahiban and it’s been a very exciting journey. I have realised the greatest emotion in love is sacrifice. You can be possessive, jealous, make babies, remain immortal through them but sacrifice of any kind is the biggest emotion.
“It has come to us in many ways and in many stories but when it happens in love, it elevates. Mostly, you will find sacrifice in spiritual stories. I related to this a lot. And that’s what I was trying to find when I started filming, I discovered this shot-by-shot.”
Mehra says the three-year-old journey of making “Mirzya” became so personal to him that it felt like a rebirth to him as a director, as a person.
“In my short career, ‘Mirzya’ has definitely enriched me a lot. As a storyteller, I have now come a full circle. It has added so much meaning to what I thought about love. Going through that process has been enjoyable.”
“Mirzya” features newcomers Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher, and Mehra admits casting the two young actors was not an obvious choice.
“People said, ‘You are making the film on such a big scale, so, take big stars and I admit I did think of such faces at first. But I realised they will come with a baggage of audience expectations,” he added. = CINEWS