Brunch Bollywood Special: Dialoguebaazi, the art of writing dialogues

  • Compiled by Asad Ali and Yasser Usman, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Dec 12, 2014 22:26 IST

(Hover your mouse over the image to read Bollywood's memorable dialogues


If you’ve grown up on a staple diet of Hindi cinema, chances are that a lot of ‘filmi dialogues’ have stuck in your subconscious and refuse to fade away. In this special issue, get an insight from some of Bollywood’s biggest names on the art of dialogue writing."Anyone can play with words, but it’s the situation in the story – that is where a strong dialogue comes in and makes maximum impact"- Salim Khan

(Salim Khan is the scriptwriter for films like Sholay, Zanjeer and Deewar)

Sometime back I had gone to interview scriptwriter Salim Khan in his plush Bandra apartment. He began by reflecting on the state of film writers. He counted the number of blockbusters he had written in partnership with Javed Akhtar and said, “Gyarah filmein lagatar hit di thi humnein. Agar Hollywood mein hotey to apna island hota, flat mein na rah rahe hotey.”

Read more here

"Dialogue, tu ek kavita hai!"

- Gulzar

(Gulzar is as fine a dialogue writer as he is a lyricist)

Being an alchemist of verse, his introduction is always as a poet-lyricist. But what about the poetry in his dialogues? Gulzar the dialogue-writer has been criminally overshadowed by Gulzar the songwriter. We remember dialogues from


(1971) like

Babumoshai, zindagi aur maut uparwale ke haath mein hai…

but sometimes forget that they were written by none other than Gulzar...

Read more here “Today, long dialogues don’t work, but punchlines do!”-

Rajat Aroraa

(Rajat Aroraa is the dialogue writer for films such as

The Dirty Picture


Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai




A storyteller writes a story. One story. So as a screenplay writer, I write one story. But dialogue writing is different. I write several stories at once. Each character has her or his own story to tell. And the way s/he can tell that story is by saying something, through dialogues – through me. I feel so powerful while writing dialogues, unlike writing screenplays, when I am very vulnerable...

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“I don’t like playing to the gallery” -

Rajkumar Santoshi

(Filmmaker Rajkumar Santoshi says writing comedy doesn’t mean you should be crass or resort to vulgarity)

There are different kinds of comedy.

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro

is quite different from

Andaz Apna Apna

, which in turn is quite different from

Chupke Chupke

. When writing any comedy script, the writer first needs to be honest to that particular genre and form. However, whatever the form, it’s equally important to keep the writing simple...

Read more here

"Dialogues and screenplay: Separated at birth"-

Abbas Tyrewala (Abbas Tyrewala, screenplay and dialogue-writer has written films like

Maqbool, Main Hoon Na


Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. )

India is the only country in the world where writing dialogue is a stand-alone craft. Nowhere else is the function of writing screenplay separated into (literally) ‘Screenplay’, ie the visual occurrence of events on screen, and ‘Dialogue’, the spoken word. In this piece, I briefly explore the possible causes of how we landed up here, rather than commenting....

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“Things will improve only when female writers come up with dialogues for women” (Film writer Shagufta Rafique says men still get the best lines)

Because most writers have been men, the men on screen have always had the last word! In fact, most of the lines written for women were quite silly. They hardly talked on screen, they didn’t have a sense of humour. They were submissive. And those were the only female characters we had. Even today, there aren’t many dialogues for women that stand out. When was the last time a line was written for a woman that was powerful?

Read more here

Also read: Brunch Bollywood Special, #Dialoguebaazi

From HT Brunch, December 14
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