Want to know how to cook the perfect recipe for a screenplay? Well we have the man to tell it all. Suresh Nair the man who penned the screenplays for films like Jhankar Beats, Salaam-e-ishq, Zinda and many more is all set to reveal another of his recipes Namastey London, which is all set to release this Friday.
From writing for newspapers to scripting movies, how did your transition from a journalist to a screenwriter happen?
It was not by design actually. It was mainly because my friend Sujoy Ghosh was to make Jhankar Beats, so I out of friendship, started writing the dialogues for the film. Around the same time Ramu used to read my column in Bombay Times and used to keep coaxing me to write a script for him. One thing led to the other and I also did a draft for Gayab So scripting was purely by accident and not by design.
Your articles as a journalist always gave an impression that you are a hardcore filmy.
I don't think I ever thought in those terms. I was writing about films and various other things. Yes I am a big movie buff but I don't think I ever planned to start meeting people in the film industry through journalism to get into films as such. It just happened; it was never planned as such. And then I started to enjoy writing, it was more fun writing for a film than writing about the film.
From Jhankar Beats to Namastey London, how has been your journey as a writer been?
I am actually enjoying the journey. It's only in the last two years that I've considered screenwriting as a serious career option and plunged into it whole-heartedly. Until then I was balancing it with a career in journalism. But right now I am having a ball because I am able to explore myself as a writer through so many avenues. I mean, I am still a newspaper columnist who still writes articles when asked by my friends in the media. I am also a comic's writer and an aspiring graphic novelist along with being a screenwriter in Bollywood! And I've been lucky to get to work with some of the finest talents in Bollywood. And even the projects I am being offered currently are fantastic. I just hope they don't discover anytime soon that I am actually a talent less sham!
Namastey London releases this week. There were reports that the film is a remake of Purab aur Pachim. You being the writer are the best person to speak on this
I really don't know where these rumors came from. There is nothing to do with Purab Pachim. Infact we even have a dialogue in the film which says that if you want to know more about the cross cultural issues of how India has westernized please watch Purab Aur Pahchim. I think the moment we hear something we start saying aree ye uska copy hog ya ye isska copy hoga, nobody is sure. Our industry DOES copy but its not that everything we do is a copy. Namastey London is actually based on something that happened to one of Akshay's friends. Vipul Shah gave me a one line story and then we developed it.
Shootout at Lokhandwala is based on a real life incident. Did you do any research to keep the feel gritty and realistic? What was the source for the research?
Initially yes. Sanjay Gupta and I met A.A Khan the then ATS head (anti- terrorist squad). He spoke at length about the encounter. We also went to the Bandra police station and checked out the records of the people killed. A.A Khan has been of immense help. After which we got all our research together and started the process of stringing the entire research in a screenplay. We couldn't just have a movie entirely about the shootout; we also had to show why the shootout happened and what happened after the shootout. The film is part fiction, part fact because most of us don't know about the track of six gangsters hold up. A lot of it has also been created out of our own imagination
Are you also writing for Dus Kahaniyaan?
Not really. We had one story which we discussed but I don't think that it is included in the ten stories now. The story was written by someone, Meghna Gulzar was going to direct the film and I had done the screenplay but I don't know if the story is still there. I have no idea.
What are the other projects that you are working on?
There is Sujoy Ghosh's Aladdin. Also there are a couple of projects which are yet to be announced.
Wouldn't you want to direct your own script?
I don't know. A lot of people have asked me this question. Like I said I had no clue that I would start writing for films. Then people asked me if I will be directing a film. When I watch all these directors I feel direction is a lot tougher than writing. And when you are directing you end up spending an entire year focusing on one film, and for me at this time it doesn't seem very interesting to spend an entire year focusing on one project. I also do a lot of other stuff like writing a column for DNA and writing a comic strip. I enjoy doing all these variety of things.