"Mirza Sahibaan" is Mehra's ambitious film, via which he is set to launch two newcomers - Anil Kapoor's son Harshvardhan, and Saiyami Kher, the niece of talented actress Tanvi Azmi and granddaughter of yesteryear's leading lady Usha Kiran. (Agencies)
The filmmaker has given his actors ample time to grasp their characters as best as they can for the project, which will go on floors in mid-September. Mehra intends to release the film towards the end of 2015.
That'll be quite a gap since the release of "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag", won't it?
"No," he retorted during a conversation with reporters.
He's sort of right - his first feature project "Aks" came in 2001, followed by "Rang De Basanti" in 2006, "Delhi-6" in 2009 and "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" in 2013.
"In fact, 'Mirza Sahibaan' will be my fastest ever film," he said.
"I think the older I'm getting, the faster I'm getting at making films. But I believe movies should be given the time they deserve. The slow cooking formula works in order to tell a good story on screen," added the 50-year-old.
That is why, he says, his projects "Raja and the Legend of the Flute" and "Casual Kamasutra", are long-pending.
" 'Raja and the Legend of the Flute' has been with me for over six years, and even 'Casual Kamasutra' has been in the works. I pick them up and leave them until I get more and more clarity on the scripts. I like to go with my pace to give a project everything that it needs," said Mehra, who was recently in the capital.
He was here to collect the National Award for "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" - best popular film providing wholesome entertainment.
It was a moment of glory for him.
"It's a hat-trick of sorts," he said as he recalled that "Rang De Basanti" was adjudged the best popular film providing wholesome entertainment at the 53rd National Film Awards ceremony, while his movie "Delhi-6" won the Nargis Dutt award for best feature film on national integration at the 57th edition of the event.
If Mehra had his way, he would have brought former athlete Milkha Singh, on whose life, "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" is based, to collect the award from President Pranab Mukherjee when the ceremony was held on May 3.
Though that couldn't happen, Mehra said he was "happier for Milkha Singh" when he had first heard that the Farhan Akhtar-starrer was chosen for the honour.
"Milkha Singh's story deserved to be told to the world at large," he said, adding that making movies which "reach out to the masses, and without compromising on values, is a challenging zone" for him to be in.
"Mirza Sahibaan" is Mehra's ambitious film, via which he is set to launch two newcomers - Anil Kapoor's son Harshvardhan, and Saiyami Kher, the niece of talented actress Tanvi Azmi and granddaughter of yesteryear's leading lady Usha Kiran.