"none other than current James Bond, Daniel Craig."
Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has revealed that Daniel Craig auditioned for Rang De Basanti.
The British actor had auditioned for the role of James McKinley in the 2006 film.
However, when Daniel was approached for the role of James Bond, he asked to take some time to consider his options.
The role of James McKinley eventually went to Steven Mackintosh.
Rakeysh made the revelation in his autobiography The Stranger in the Mirror.
In the book, he explained that he wanted to create world cinema and wanted the backend to be managed with perfection and discipline.
He roped in producers David Reid and Adam Bowling, who were responsible for the cult classics Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000).
The pair loved the Rang De Basanti script and went to India for the film.
Rakeysh recalled: “They were responsible for casting Alice Patten and Steven Mackintosh for the parts of Sue and James McKinley, respectively.
“I remember vividly that one of the people who auditioned for the part of James McKinley, the young jailor who walks Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev to be hanged, was none other than current James Bond, Daniel Craig.”
Daniel Craig auditioned through David and Adam.
Rakeysh continued: “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.”
In his autobiography, Rakeysh also revealed that he almost got musician Peter Gabriel to work on the film.
But he said that something inside him said that AR Rahman should be doing it.
“The music of RDB was the soul of the film; the songs AR created became de facto national anthems.”
Rang De Basanti starred the likes of Aamir Khan, Siddharth and Atul Kulkarni.
The film was chosen as India’s official entry for the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.
Daniel Craig made his debut as James Bond that year in Casino Royale.
He has also played the iconic spy in Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre. He will play 007 for the fifth time in No Time to Die.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra had previously said that Farhan Akhtar had been approached for a role in Rang De Basanti.
However, the Bhaag Milkha Bhaag actor was focused on his directing career at the time.
The Stranger in the Mirror, which has been co-written by Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta, reveals stories from Rakeysh’s life.