Jaideep Sahni, the writer of blockbusters such as Bunty Aur Babli and Chak De! India, is getting top billing in promotions for his new project Shuddh Desi Romance, a rare honour for a screenwriter in Bollywood.
Sahni spoke to Reuters about the curse of film intermissions and the reason his movies have so many layers. Here are edited excerpts from the interview:
Q: You and director Maneesh Sharma share top billing in the promotions for Shuddh Desi Romance. How did you pull that off?
A: Maneesh and I were quite embarrassed by it. Because we are not used to it, I guess. But our marketing colleagues felt it might do its little two bits in attracting people. I guess it is a bit of body of work and largely the producers and directors I have worked with. They are the kind of people who respect writing.
Q: I cannot think of any writer who would have top billing in a movie promo.
A: I hope it doesn’t stop here, and it happens with every writer and becomes systemic. It is a start, but when it becomes a norm, that is when it will be time to celebrate.
Q: Does that mean that producers are not as good to writers as they should be?
A: It depends. Filmmakers who know what good writing can bring to a film make sure they recognize them. The good guys do it and the shady guys don’t do it. It has changed since the time I started out. A lot more people know that writing has something to do with films. It used to be like that with Salim-Javed, but somewhere our department lost its space and it is coming back again slowly. A lot of people have started looking out for who the writer is. Even reviews didn’t mention the writer … The work also has to be good enough. To a certain extent you have to earn it.