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    Monday, 21 July 2014

    Chetan Bhagat: I always found Salman Khan a thinker

    Chetan Bhagat has turned a scriptwriter for Salman Khan’s Kick. While his books have been made into films in the past, this is the first time Bhagat has written screenplay for a film. So did he take up the project as it was a Salman starrer? And will the popular author get into scriptwriting after Kick? After having written books and now finally having written a script for Salman’s Kick, we are sure Bhagat will say, ‘isme kick hai.’ Well, to know what he has to say, keep reading…
    How was your experience of writing something that wasn’t based on your book?
    This is the first time I am doing that and it was a challenge. This is the fifth film I am working on and my previous four films have all been based on my books. I wanted to understand the screenplay medium. Books is one medium and screenplay is another medium through which I can tell stories. I want to reach maximum number of Indians as possible. This was a big challenge for me. Finally I learnt, I got a hang of it and I worked with Sajid Nadiadwala directly, who has been a producer for almost 28-30 years. I got a chance to learn a lot.
    Now that you have turned a scriptwriter for Kick, do you have further plans to get into script writing?
    I don’t mind doing it but I will do it very selectively. Books will remain my priority. I will do it for a very special project, if it’s truly amazing. Kick has Salman Khan, it’s the first film Sajid Nadiadwala is directing, it’s already being spoken of as the biggest movie of the year – if I get something like that, I will do it, but otherwise no.
    Kick is a Salman starrer, so when you met the actor, did you have any preconceived notions about him?
    I had bunked college to see Maine Pyaar Kiya. We have all grown up watching Salman Khan movies. Until you see it happening you won’t believe it, that you are writing something and Salman will perform to it.
    What was your first impression when you met Salman Khan?
    I always found him as a thinker. I know people think of him as somebody who is handsome and has a good body, all that is true, but I found him to be a very interesting person. He thinks a lot and he feels a lot about things. He has his point of view on things, he may not express that point of view in public but he’s never without an opinion. A part of him has not changed. Even though he has been an actor for so long, a part of him is still very real.
    Salman is known for giving inputs to a film. So did he give inputs while you were scriptwriting for Kick?
    Not during the scriptwriting stage but I am sure the film is riding on him. He has his own take but he won’t give it to me, he will give it to the director. He never told me to do anything differently in the film.
    Do you know if Salman has read any of your books?
    I am not sure. That’s an interesting question, but I never asked him that. He’s definitely seen the movies like 3 Idiots and stuff like that, but I am not sure he’s read the books.
    Till now, it’s been your books that have been made into films. So what was the reason you took up Kick?
    I needed a new challenge. I want to reach maximum number of Indians through my writing. Films is something Indians like to do and every film needs a writer and screenplay. So I thought it’s a good way for me to get a new set of audience, which may not necessarily read books, but they watch movies. So specially like the Salman Khan fans, some of them do read my books but a lot of them don’t. The chance to reach them was very attractive to me. It’s such a huge project. Sajid Nadiadwala and Salman Khan are best friends and it’s Sajid Nadiadwala’s first directorial movie, it’s a Salman Khan movie. So it is going to be the biggest movie of the year. And to be a part of that for your very first movie as a scriptwriter was quite a high.
    The dialogues in Kick are being talked about a lot. So do you have any favourite dialogue from the film?
    I must mention that the dialogues have been done by Rajat Arora. I did the screenplay in English and the dialogues were done by Rajat Arora. There was a team of writers – Rajat Arora, Sajid Nadiadwala himself, me and there’s another talented boy called Keith Gomes. ‘Dil mein aata hoon, samajh mein nahiand ‘Wo apni Eidi lene zaroor aayega’ are already very popular dialogues.
    A memory close to your heart, during the making of Kick
    Sajid Nadiadwala and I used to meet every day in his office and we converted one entire wall to a white board. There were about six white boards on it. And we used to keep drawing various diagrams on it like mad scientists. We used to do this every day. I come from a corporate background so when I would come in I would say let’s start work. But Nadiadwala would always say, come sit down, chat for 10-15 minutes, talk about life, fun things and then we would start working on the script. That was an unusual way of working for me but for him it was a way to break the ice and get people bonding. And at that time we used to tell the funniest Bollywood stories, from the funniest films I have ever heard. Those are my most treasured memories of Kick.
    Apart from Kick, your book Revolution 2020 is being made into a film, so what’s happening on that front?
    Many names are floating around but none of them is finalised.
    Has Arjun Kapoor been roped in for the film?
    Nothing is confirmed yet. I am deliberately going slow because it’s been a very big year for me. I had 2 States come out, and I have Kick coming. I also have my new book coming in October. After the success of Kai Po Che, 2 States and 3 Idiots, we have to be very careful with every adaptation because now there are high expectations. Until I get the right team and the right project, there’s no point proceeding on it.
    Do you have any actors in mind who could fit into the characters of Revolution 2020?
    I have several actors in mind, and they are all from the younger lot, the current generation. This is what I am thinking. But then again, I will take my director’s view into account.
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