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‘The Family Man’ writer Suman Kumar: 'Our country is so rich and diverse, Season 3 could be set in the Northeast'

Suman Kumar  

If you have laughed, cried and bitten your nails to the quick binge-watching Raj and D.K.’s The Family Man, some of the credit goes to the writer, Suman Kumar.

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The Bengaluru-based Suman was born in Chennai and grew up in Andhra. “I came here in 2004 and made it my home,” says Suman, who started off as a software professional. “I felt a complete misfit in the industry.”

Suman and D.K. studied together in high school. “We used to write stories as teenagers.” Suman quit his job to become a full time writer, which he says was always his passion. “Those days, you either became an engineer or a doctor and I got a B. Com, to satisfy my parents.”

How to get ahead

‘The Family Man’ writer Suman Kumar: 'Our country is so rich and diverse, Season 3 could be set in the Northeast'

His stint as a copywriter brought Suman no joy. “I was not satisfied writing to sell someone else’s product. That is when I decided to write a book.”

Ranga Half-pants was published in 2016. “The irony was when I sat down to write, I realised how ill-equipped I was to pen anything! So before the book, I wrote a blog and did stand up. I found I was getting better everyday. Writing became an escape from being a cubicle slave. There is nothing wrong with a corporate job, just that the rat race did not make sense to me as I am not a rat. I did not understand corporate designations and protocols. When an ex-boss said I did not have any communication skills, I decided to jump out of that well and dive into writing.”

All for one

By 2016 Suman was already collaborating extensively with Raj and D.K. “We started scripting together and I learnt how to build a narrative and a character that would connect with the audience on the job. Then The Family Man happened. It was new for three of us as we were looking at a 10-part series, with 45-minute episodes. That was a challenge and we had to write in such a manner that the audience would return for the next episode.”

Equal distribution

Suman says he did not feel left out when the actors walked away with the accolades. “Writers, DOPs and editors fall under the B-to-B category — business to business. Actors are in the B-to-C (business-to-consumer) category. They are the ones who bring the character to life and present it to the consumer.”

Cinema is team work and not a solitary activity like writing, says Suman. “It involves a bunch of creative people, each bringing in their expertise to the table. Actors bring in their perspective to the writing. I was bowled over by Manoj Bajpayee’s approach to the role. He is an institution and took the role to another level by bringing in his expertise. Same with Samantha. None of us had seen her doing such an intense role nor had we seen her doing her own stunts.”

The basics

The foundation for anything, Suman says, is the writing. “Everything starts on paper.” On how much of himself goes into the characters he creates, Suman says, “It is impossible not to let a bit of you creep into your writing. No matter how careful you are, you end up giving a little bit of yourself to each and every character. It may happen subconsciously, but consciously, I would not want to inflict myself on my reader or audience, because I know me.”

The fundamental quest of a writer Suman says is to find an interesting character.

‘The Family Man’ writer Suman Kumar: 'Our country is so rich and diverse, Season 3 could be set in the Northeast'

“A writer has to keep his eyes and ears open and constantly absorb everything that is happening around him/her. When you say you are a writer, people imagine the act of writing. That, in fact, is the last thing you do. You begin with characters, ideas, narrations, and structuring a story. It is after we have all this in place that writing happens. Sometimes you even think of an idea in your dream. The process of creation is a constant. I spend about six to seven hours every day in the physical act of writing.”

Season 3 of The Family Man could be in the Northeast, according to Suman. “Our country is so rich and diverse, there is a lot to explore. India is one country with different worlds and OTT provides a platform to explore regions, cultures and people.”

Cinema keeps evolving, says Suman. “Now it is all about binge watching. That itself is an evolution and cinema has broken from the shackles of the large screen and has become device independent. You need to be good enough to break through the visual clutter. That is the biggest challenge as there are so many players here today. It is good, because this is a golden era for content.”


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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 12:51:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/everything-starts-on-paper-says-the-family-man-creator-suman-kumar/article37107259.ece

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