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A ‘Kahaani' worth following

shilpa nair anand
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tête-à-tête Suresh Nair, who co-produced “Kahaani” and wrote the scripts of “Namastey London” and “Singh is Kinng”, talks about his association with films

Afavour for a friend — ‘writing dialogues', led him to Bollywood. The film was “Jhankaar Beats” and the friend was Sujoy Ghosh, the man who helmed “Kahaani”. Today, Suresh Nair is ecstatic about the success of “Kahaani”, which he co-produced and co-wrote (he is part of Boundscript Productions, which produced the film). Although he has been part of many box-office hits, these aspects makes this film that much more special.

When Suresh starts talking, it's a free flow of thought and opinions. So, it's no surprise he wrote for breezy films such as “Namastey London” or “Singh is Kinng”. However, he adds that most of his writing (for films) do not represent his sensibilities.

A part of the script

Namastey London (story and screenplay), Singh is Kinng (screenplay with Anees Bazmi), Shootout at Lokhandwala (screenplay and story with Sanjay Gupta and Apoorva Lakhia), London Dreams (screenplay and co-wrote the story with Ritesh Shah)…are some of the other films on his list. Since he was a journalist, writing was part of the script (pun intended) but writing films wasn't. “It was not part of the design. I didn't even know what a script looked like or how it was written,” Suresh says.

He is now working on the sequels of Namastey London and Singh is Kinng ; and remake of the iconic Zanjeer , the Hindi remake of the Malayalam film Traffic and collaborating with Siddhique on his latest Hindi film.

Suresh's work is interesting in that he helps directors develop the stories/concepts they want to tell. He says how with an example. “The director of Namastey London (Vipul Shah) had an idea about how a girl brought up in the United Kingdom (U.K.) is cornered into marriage in India by her concerned parents. And how she turns the tables on him once she is back in the U.K. I, then, figure out the storyline and the situations. There is always constant interaction with the director on what works and what doesn't, he has to be satisfied.” Suresh wants to, on a later date, write a script he wants, which is his vision. “Not now. Sometime.”

That brings us to the next point, the writer is rarely acknowledged once the film is done. The film, once done, becomes the property of the director or the actor. What happens to the writer? “Writers are low profile. And Cinema is essentially a director's medium. As a writer I can work on two or three stories simultaneously, but a director works with one film. Making it becomes his whole life…so the director deserves all the attention,” says Suresh. Television, on the other hand, he says, is the writer's medium.

And the critic? Does he read criticism? “Yes. I read everything that is written about a film of mine. If you read a couple of critics then you know the general trend.” He expects a critic to offer constructive insights into a film rather than dispensing ‘gyaan' on how a film should or should not have been made.

Born and brought up in Mumbai but with roots in Ottappalam, where does the Malayalam film industry figure in his scheme of things?

It means a lot to him that Balachandra Menon called him and congratulated him on Kahaani . April 18 is a personal favourite, if he ever got a chance one film he would like to remake (in a modern/contemporary setting). “There have I given the idea to somebody”, he jokes. Others on his list are Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha . Nadodikattu could have been excellently remade in Hindi and if Kahaani is ever re-made in Malayalam it will have to be with Manju Warrier (“the best actor we have seen”).

He looks genuinely disappointed on being told that the last is an impossible dream. He says he would love to, at some point, make a Malayalam film for the love of it. He may be a Mumbaiwallah, but he is also the real McCoy when it comes to some things Malayali.

shilpa nair anand

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