Writer duo Sajid-Farhad, who have recently taken to film direction, credit Bollywood star Akshay Kumar for encouraging them to work behind the camera.
Sajid and Farhad Samji have become Bollywood's most bankable writers thanks to their witty one liners in super hit films like Bol Bachchan, Housefull 2, Ready, Golmaal Returns and Golmaal 3, among others.
After achieving success as writers, the duo have taken to film direction with their first venture, It's Entertainment. "We never thought of direction... It just happened. We came in the industry as lyricists, then became dialogue writers, then wrote screenplays and stories. We learnt a lot and kept growing. So direction became the next step eventually," Sajid-Farhad told PTI.
The film stars Akshay in the lead and the duo feel they couldn't have asked for anything better. "Akshay is a fantastic actor and a great human being. We worked with him in Housefull 2, and he was impressed with our work. He invited us to write the screenplay, story and dialogues of 'Boss' (Akshay's just released film). We interacted with him on almost daily basis," Sajid-Farhad said.
"He liked our work and one day suggested to direct a film. He felt we could be great directors. Initially, we were surprised and asked him to act in the film that we would direct," the duo said. They, however, maintain roping in top stars in a debut film is not a recipe for success.
"Whatever films we have worked on, have been super hit because the story was good. The script is soul of a film. If the story is not entertaining then it will not work despite having a big star." "We want our child (debut film) to grow. We have groomed it and worked on it, we hope through our film we are able to spread happiness," they added. South actress Tamannaah is paired opposite Akshay in, It'sEntertainment. The duo had worked with her in Sajid Khan's, Himmatwala.
"We had worked with her on Himmatwala. She is a talented actress. We approached her for the film, she liked her part and agreed to come on board," they added. Sajid and Farhad started their journey in the Hindi film industry over a decade ago. After penning lyrics, dialogues, screenplays and stories, they are looking forward to success in their new avatar.
The duo got their first break in 2002 in David Dhawan's, Hum Kisise Kum Nahin, with the song Munna Mobile Pappu Pager. The next big break came in Raju Hirani's Munnabhai MBBS, in which Farhad co-wrote the song, M Bole To, with Rahat Indori.
Their major writing assignment came when Ram Gopal Varma asked them to write the screenplay and dialogues for Mohit Ahlawat-starrer, Shiva (2006). Asked how they see the place of writers in today's Bollywood, the duo said, "Interesting scripts are getting churned out like, Vicky Donor. The film earned love and respect primarily because of its story line. Writers are an important part of a film. If the story and screenplay is not in place then nothing will work. The base has to be strong."
"There was a time when people used to watch films due to their writers. Things have changed today but we hope the old trend comes back." Constant presence on film sets helped the duo learn technicalities about direction, they said, adding almost 85 per cent of shooting of 'It's Entertainment' will hopefully be over by December.
"We are looking at mid-2014 release. It is not decided whether it will have a festive release," they added.