nandita dutta in conversation with sanjay chauhan

sanjay chouhanचवन्‍नी के पाठकों के लिए संजय चौहान का यह इंटरव्‍यू डियर सिनेमा से लिया गया है।

From stealing his sister’s money to watch films in Bhopal to winning awards for Best Screenplay for Paan Singh Tomar-which also won the National Award for Best Film 2012-Sanjay Chouhan has come a long way. His impressive portfolio includes Saheb Biwi aur GangsterI am Kalaam and Maine Gandhi ko Nahi Maara. Chouhan’s experience in the Hindi film industry spans an era when he was blatantly given DVDs to copy to a time when he won the Filmfare and Screen awards for his original screenplay on the life of an athlete who turned bandit.
Chouhan gives a lowdown on the fate of writers of Hindi films then and now, and some useful tips for aspiring writers wanting to break into the industry:
Content driven films have been in the limelight at all mainstream award functions this year; you won the Screen and Filmfare awards for Paan Singh Tomar. How do you think the role of a screenwriter has transformed in this scenario?
I will put this in perspective. There was a time when the emphasis was on writing; you take any writer whether it is Abrar Alvi or Ahmad Abbas. These writers were respected a lot. There was also a director – writer combination. Then came an era when Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar came together and wrote films. This brought in a phenomenal change and created a platform for writers. After they split, very few writers could match up to their mark. Thus began the worst period of Hindi film writing, called the DVD writing. They gave you a DVD and you had to just copy that scene by scene, not even sparing a train or a bus accident in the given film. It was very convenient. I recall an interview with Javed Akhtar where he said that when he went to a producer and narrated a story, the producer said, “Darling your script is very good, but there has been no film made on this earlier.”
They gave you a DVD and you had to just copy that scene by scene, not even sparing a train or a bus accident in the given film. It was very convenient. I recall an interview with Javed Akhtar where he said that when he went to a producer and narrated a story, the producer said, “Darling your script is very good, but there has been no film made on this earlier.”
Then came Sony Pictures and madeSaawariyan. Sony’s entry was followed by the entry of Disney Pictures and 20th Century Fox. These Hollywood studios started setting up shops here and that purified our lives. As a writer, I am very thankful to them. Because they started monitoring what kind of films we are making. If we copied their films, they would send notices. So now the producers who blatantly copied DVDs became ready to spend money on scripts. They would rather spend 10-15 lakhs on an original script than pay crores of rupees to these studios to copy their scripts. Now they started looking for content, for story and simultaneously for a secret formula. They went to South India, picked up the hit films that are quite popular and remade them in Hindi. In another 3-4 years this too will reach a saturation point.
Content driven films came in 2-3 years back, but emphasis was not so much on writing. It was more on who is the hero. The belief was that if there is a good hero, the film will do well but then films with big names started failing left, right and centre. I think only Salman Khan has a real fan following. His films are able to earn crores despite being bad films. Right now it’s working like that, I can’t predict the future.
So the producers and heroes sit back and wonder what to do. I don’t think Akshay Kumar would have done a Special 26 three years back. As for his other film Oh My God! that entered the 100 crore club, who is the hero of the film? Paresh Rawal. Who is Paresh Rawal? He is a fifty year old guy. But the content of the film worked. So they must have also realized that if there is content, it is worth a try. Similarly, Aamir Khan does all kinds of content driven films, be it 3 Idiots or Talaash. If you see the Filmfare nominations this year, you will see that content driven films like Vicky Donor,ShanghaiKahaaniGangs of Wasseypur and Paan Singh Tomar stood strong. I think the time has come for content driven films and this has brought in a lot of responsibility on us to create that kind of content.
What you are saying is that a majority of Hindi films are still copies of Southern hits?
Yes. We have to understand that the Hindi film industry… and the moment we call it an industry, it’s commerce not art. And everyone who is putting crores of rupees into a project, the first thing that comes to their mind is that you are not doing charity but investing in a business. So he/she wants to know whether it will give returns or not. But when the producer sees that this south Indian film has done good business, it has the formula, it has the ingredients, it is well scripted, for example, Ghajini had an amazing screenplay; they go for it. Now because the producer makes money through these films, he / she has the chance to make a Paan Singh Tomar. The same studio makes Barfi! as well as Dabangg.
saheb
Still from Saheb Biwi aur Gangster
Producers go for security; they go where they get their investments back. Even if you or I take that seat, we will ask for that. If the content is strong and risk is less, the project is taken up. If you make a film of 60 crores, then you spend another 30 to 40 crores on print and publicity and it becomes a 100 crore film. So it’s a huge loss if the film fails.
At the same time content driven films are being recognized. Do you think now writers are getting their due?
When Paan Singh Tomar was ready but was not getting released, it was a frustrating period for us. We were all confused about what to do. Then Tigmanshu said we will make a small budget film, in 40 lakhs. We will not charge our fee and when the film is made we will take our shares.
पूरा इंटरव्‍यू पढ़ने के लिए यहां क्लिक करें....

Comments

Rakesh Mittal said…
Great !!!

Popular posts from this blog

लोग मुझे भूल जायेंगे,बाबूजी को याद रखेंगे,क्योंकि उन्होंने साहित्य रचा है -अमिताभ बच्चन

फिल्‍म समीक्षा : एंग्री इंडियन गॉडेसेस

Gr8 Marketing turns Worst Movies into HITs-goutam mishra