What are the key features that you concentrate on when you are doing the screenplay for a movie? Are there specific thematic concepts that you prefer? For Hate Story 2, Vikram Bhatt had the idea and knew how he wanted the film to turn out. As a writer, I had debates with him on keeping it grounded and realistic and he was open to all my ideas! I was sort of a “script doctor” for the project. So when I wrote the screenplay, it came naturally to me because we had discussed every scene in detail. I have learned through my education and working with him that you must know when to take cinematic liberties and when to keep it believable while writing a screenplay otherwise you’ll lose the hook of the audience.
While working with Hate Story 2, you concentrated on the theme of a woman who uses seeks revenge off her sexual exploiter. How relevant is this theme in the modern day world? Honestly I don’t believe in vigilantism. I believe in the judicial system of India and justice taking its course. However I do feel that we need to have many more gender sensitising camps for men in power – politicians, police force, army, and corporates and in schools, colleges, etc. I think we should keep revenge for the celluloid!
Your books normally explore humorous facades, and concentrate upon the new age youth as target readers. How different is the experience of writing a screenplay? Actually each of my books is different with a different target audience in mind!
Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas was loved by the youth even though my protagonist Kaveri was 30 years old.
Advantage Love was especially for the youth because Trisha falls in love with a politician and tennis player and I’ve tried to show how ambition can unsettle your love life.
Scandalous Housewives was about the lives of ordinary wives living in a high rise building in Mumbai who have deep dark secrets that get exposed and threaten the fabric of their relationships.
And My Clingy Girlfriend is the first humorous book I’ve written from a boy’s point of view!
So writing a screenplay is very different. It’s a different format. And it’s tougher. But thankfully my first screenplay was a hit and hopefully there’ll be more to come.
Most of your works focus on the woman, even though, sometimes the narrator is a male, as we see in My Clingy Girlfriend. What are your views on the woman question?
The narrator has never been a male till My Clingy Girlfriend. But with the success of this book, I’m writing another one with the male point of view called Metro Men!
Hate Story 2 revolved around an unconventional theme of a woman scaling heights. Was there any special reason involved in this? I feel all women should scale new heights. Push yourself. Believe in yourself. Be ambitious. You know you can do it all. It’s all in your mind.
Your journey from writing novels to screenplay has been an interesting one. What were the key moments? I’ve written a screenplay before I wrote a novel. I’ve graduated from Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia where I made films. I won a National Award for a documentary I made and came first in my class as a director. I’ve studied films, written scripts, done shot divisions and worked as an Assistant Director to filmmakers before I wrote a novel. But as destiny would have it, I wrote four novels before I could have a screenplay be developed into a film. God has His own plan for us. We must trust the process and work hard to prove we’re on the right path.