Tell us about your journey as a screenwriter. Where and when did it all begin?
I used to write and direct plays. After completing my graduation in Petro-chemical engineering, I joined Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. I, then started a production house called TailorMade films, along with two of my friends Keerthi Nakhwa and Amitabh Shukla (a renowned editor now in the B-town). We were mostly into Ads.
An opportunity knocked the door. I wrote the story screenplay and produced this telefilm called “Chosen One” which was directed by Vinil Mathew. It was received very well and won many awards. It was aired on Star Best Sellers too. The director, sound designer and cinematographer who worked for “Chosen One” have worked for “Hasee Toh Phasee” too. Working with them again, feels so great.
Mm..Looks like you have a long association with Vinil Mathew
Indeed! He was my junior in FTII. My primary interest is in direction, but I have so much confidence in Vinil’s capabilities that I am glad he is directing my script. We share a great rapport and are always on the same wavelength. There are many fellow FTTI ians too who are doing great in the industry.
How did Hasee Toh Phasee happen?
Vinil had done some really good work in Ads. We thought its time to make a feature film. The script of Hasee Toh Phasee got ready and Phantom came forward to pick us up. Later Dharma Productions joined and made our launch bigger.
Phantom and Dharma are in fact two contrasting production houses. One is into raw, dark, path-breaking, experimental stuff and the latter is more into glamour and big-ticket films. So which zone does HTP fall into?
Both. Hasee Toh Phasee has got the sensibilities of Phantom, and the entertainment factors of Dharma. And probably that’s what makes it unique.
Did you get any inputs from Anurag Kashyap (one of the four producers of Phantom)?
Yes, of course. He is also one of the four dialogue writers for this movie. Vikramaditya Motwane and Vikas Bahl also helped me in giving useful inputs throughout the iterations of the script. The brainstorming sessions helped well in making a good final product.
Is there any directorial venture on your plate now?
I directed a movie called “Hunter”. It stars Gulshan Deviah as the main lead who plays a ‘tarkhi’. in the film. It’s a very interesting movie, and is now under post production. I am hoping for a release during the summer.
Great! So who are your favorite screenwriters?
I admire Salim Javed’s writing a lot. Their ouput was very impactful. Also, I like Gulzar saab. In the contemporaries, Anurag Kashyap is fabulous. I am a great fan of his work.
Any advice you would like to give to the upcoming and young screenwriters?
I haven’t proved myself yet so I cannot give any advice to them. However, there is one advice I keep giving to myself. Be honest while writing and do not write just for the heck of it. Let the passion come naturally and give your complete effort.
The final question. What does Hasee Toh Phasee has in store for the audience?
Rom-com is an evergreen genre, but lately rom-coms are not so rooted. Hasee Toh Phasee is very rooted with lots of sensibility embedded in it, apart from giving the entertainment. There is a lot of freshness you will experience in the movie. There is a good mixture of emotions that will make you laugh as well as cry.
Interview by Rag Mayur