Lines by noted poet and playwright Derek Walcott in which he said he is a writer and therefore planted lines, fit perfectly to the profile of dialogue writer-turned-director Amrik Gill. After penning dialogues of some famous Hindi films, the 63-year-old is ready to don the hat of a film director in Punjab.
Born and bought up in a small town called Mukerian near Hoshiarpur, Gill had perhaps never thought while growing up that his life would take him to Mumbai some day. Gill says he had realised early that his interest lay in films and theatre. So, after passing out of school, he was admitted to the National School of Drama, Delhi. However, in his last year at the academy, Gill developed a love for writing dialogues and stories for plays. Luckily for him, he got his first big break the very next year as a dialogue writer in the Punjabi film Ucha Dar Babe Nanak Da (1982). Thereafter, his pen never stopped writing dialogues.
But, it was his foray into Bollywood that got Gill prestigious projects. “It was a golden opportunity for me when I got offers to write dialogues for Bollywood films such as Main Zinda Hoon (1998), Jeet (1996), Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and Yaadein (2001) to name a few, which I happily grabbed,” he says. He also won the IIFA award for Best Dialogue Writer for Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam in 2000.
The writer says that all through his profession, he always made it a point to understand the story of the film and its characters in depth. “This allows the writer to do justice not only to his work but also to the film,” he adds. After receiving appreciation for his writing, Gill now awaits feedback on his directorial skills as his debut project, Kirpaan – The Sword of Honour, hits theatres February 7. Apart from directing it, he has also written its story, screenplay and dialogues. Gill says he has put in his entire strength in the film.
When asked why, in his view, Punjabi films are faring badly at the box office, Gill says it is the stories of the films that are to be blamed, which are weak and have no real connection with the society. “I feel that very few Punjabi films do well. Punjabi cinema can do well only if it takes strong stories with good dialogues that only entertain but also make the audience realise the true values of life. Why are we moving away from Punjabi literature, that can give us many good stories?” he asks, leaving us wondering.