In his autobiography, The Stranger in the Mirror, co-written by Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta, filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has revealed that the failure of Delhi 6 hit him particularly hard. While Delhi 6 has found fans over the years, the film did not perform well when it released. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra says that he turned to alcohol to cope with the film’s failure and wanted to drink himself to death.
“The film opened on Friday, 20 February 2009, to a great response. By Sunday, we had done over âÂ¹40 crore of business, but then came Monday, and the audience just vanished from the theatres. I was devastated. Was it too dark a reality for them? Were they unable to identify with the protagonist? The box office debacle, and my own conflict with what ending was appropriate, shook me deeply. Was I capable of producing great cinema consistently? Was Rang De Basanti a fluke?” a leading daily quoted Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra of having written in his book.
“I was going deeper and deeper into a dark hole. Unable to take it anymore, I drowned myself in alcohol. I wanted to drink myself to death — to sleep and never get up. I could see how much pain I was bringing to Bharathi (his wife) and our daughter, Bhairavi, who was now in her pre-teens. My son Vedant was observing and things were eroding between us. I remained careless and insensitive to the people I loved the most,” Rakeysh added.
The filmmaker added that six months later, he called up his cinematographer Binod Pradhan and they reworked the ending of the film along with Rakeysh’s wife, Bharathi, and submitted the film to the Venice Film Festival where it won plaudits. Delhi 6 went on to win two National Awards – Best Production Design and the Nargis Dutt Award for best feature film on national integration. In the alternate ending to the film, Abhishek Bachchan’s character is beaten to death. However, actor Rishi Kapoor had allegedly thrown a tantrum about that ending saying that they needed to show “hope”.