Along with Prakash Jha and Manoj Tyagi, he has just won the National Award for Best Screenplay for Apaharan. Typing away industriously on his laptop at his Versova apartment, scriptwriter Shridhar Raghavan reflects on the writing scene in Bombay movies:
Congratulations on the National Award.
Thank you.. the credit for Apaharan also goes to Mr Jha and Manoj.
Aren't you writing too many films?
( Laughs )Not really..my next movie is Made in China,directed by Nikhil Advani... and a film each with Rohan Sippy, Mr Jha and UTV.
How come you've never written any of your brother Sriram Raghavan's films?
Sriram really doesn't need a writer because he's writes brilliantly. But there's something we are working on together now.
<b1>Does it help to have a filmmaker brother?
Sure.. in terms of setting my standards higher.Writers tend to fall in love with their own work. Sriram is a superb kabab mein haddi.. we attack each script we write with the ferocity of Hannibal Lecter going after a victim..
You are obsessed with cop films
( Khakee and Apaharan ).
You're forgetting the TV show CID. I'm fascinated by cops and doctors.. please don't ask me why. Maybe it 's got to do with the films I loved as a kid—ArdhSatya and Zanjeer and Tere Mere Sapne.
Why have you confined yourself mostly to the Raj Kumar Santoshi camp?
Santoshi camp? Reminds me of my scouting days! I'm actually doing the bulk of my work with Rohan Sippy.. five films at last count. I don't really lose out on work because I'm truthfully not looking forwork.
Familyturn out to be a disaster?
It 's really hard to explain how and why a film goes wrong. We had a decent team of writers on
.. may be we were all pulling in different directions and it all just came apart. We learnt from our mistakes.
I've heard great reports of
, Rajji's next film. He wrote it himself. Mr Santoshi is a fabulous writer.When I would get stuck in some dialogue scenes of
, he 'd graciously allow me to land up at his place at 2 a m.. he'd help me write it till dawn.
I am always indebted to him.. and Anjum Rajabali, whom I met through Kundan Shah right after
Anjum put me in touch with B P Singh for
and with Rajji for
. I owe my career to him. I always say that as far as writers go, Anjum is Rajkumar Santoshi's true love, I'm only a one-night stand.
Why don’t we make writers like Salim-Javed anymore?
Salim-Javed are pretty much the temple of screen writing.. the rest of us are like bricks on the temple wall. I learnt screenwriting from their films.. and Vijay Anand's. They brought craft, discipline and dignity to the profession. But forget comparisons, we have some excellent writers. Jaideep Sahani is outstanding. So are Raju Hirani, Abhijat Joshi and Sriram. ( Laughs ) I wish I had a collection of hats.. so that I could do hats off to each one of them.
Are you joking?
No, I 'm serious.
Okay. Critics feel that Bombay cinema's screenplays are still mediocre.
The names I mentioned above should counter that. You aren't really judging the screenplay but the final film.What do you know how much of the writer's material was actually used or abused?
When I said Salim-Javed were the temple of screenwriting and the rest of us were bricks on the wall, please remember, people usually deface walls.