Mumbai: UTV pulled out of Milkha's biopic apparently because their film on another athlete is releasing soon.
Ever since five films on Bhagat Singh were made around the same time over eight years ago, producers have become very cautious about the genres and subjects of their new ventures.
And that's the reason a corporate studio backed out of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag'. "Because they're already releasing 'Paan Singh Tomar', based on a runner who becomes a rebel, next month," state industry sources.
Buzz is that Mehra had first approached UTV Motion Pictures to finance and co-produce the movie, based on the nation's legendary athlete, Milkha Singh.
"That is because he shares good relations with UTV, having made Rang De Basanti and Delhi 6 with them," says our informer, adding, "Never mind if Delhi 6 didn't work even a quarter as much as 'Rang De Basanti', the corporate house has a good experience of working with him. And he felt no other studio would understand his vision as well as UTV."
However, the production house had their plans. First they declined to back Mehra's ambitious project, toplining Farhan Akhtar as the Flying Sikh and Sonam Kapoor as his love interest prior to his wedding.
"They already had 'Paan Singh Tomar' featuring Irrfan Khan lying complete for about a year now. And most importantly, this Tigmanshu Dhulia directed film is based on a real life athlete too," asserted our informer.
Another factor that influenced the studio major's plan of action was the budget. As our source reveals, "'Paan Singh...' is made at less than Rs 4 crore, including Irrfan's fees.
On the other hand, 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' has a production budget of Rs 30 crore. UTV didn't think it was a wise decision to back Rakeysh's film with Farhan.
Sometime in late 2011, the head of the production house conveyed to Rakeysh that while they'd love to team up with him again, they couldn't work together with him on 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag'."
Now, Farhan and Ritesh Sidhwani, his friend-cum-production partner are producing the movie in association with Mehra's company. However, to whom they sell the distribution rights of the film now remains to be seen.
'Paan Singh Tomar' is inspired from the real life runner who won the steeplechase event at the Indian National Games. The real Paan Singh triumphed seven times in a row. But he gave it all up, including his post as a Subedar in the Army before becoming a rebel who wreaked havoc in the Chambal valley.