From writing crime thriller Tezaab to comedy Chalbaaz, the path-breaking Rang De Basanti to forthcoming Delhi-6 - writer Kamlesh Pandey has penned many hits but says despite being in filmdom for two decades he hasn't got his due. He claims scriptwriters are like condoms in the film industry - used and thrown.
"In our industry writers are like condoms - you use it and then throw it or hide in a place where nobody can see it. We writers don't get our due. Salim-Javed were the exceptions and they got recognition because of who they were," Pandey told IANS over telephone from Mumbai.
"We need visibility like stars and directors. We may not be as good looking as the actors, but we writers are the first star of a film and the industry must realise this. Stars can't guarantee success without a script. Most of the films recently flopped because the script was weak," he asserted.
When told that things have changed and writers are getting more recognition now, he retorted: "I still need evidence to accept that writers are getting recognition in our film industry. Everything depends on success here. I was in the industry for decades, but people rediscovered me after the success of Rang De Basanti."
Talking about Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Delhi-6 that releases Friday, he said: "Delhi-6 was a more difficult film to write because we had to experiment with structure and treatment. We wanted to make a film that is serious yet entails a comic streak."
Pandey has co-scripted the film with Mehra.
Pandey added that Delhi-6, which has Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor in lead roles, is more unique and ambitious than Mehra's earlier Rang De Basanti.
A striking similarity that is hard to ignore in the two films is that both are set in Delhi, but the writer says it's just a coincidence.
"It's a coincidence that both the films are based in Delhi. Rang de... revolved around the political system of our country and since Delhi is the centre, it had to be based out of Delhi," said Pandey, who hails from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh but has spent considerable time in the national capital.
"With Delhi-6, as the title suggests, we are targeting the old Delhi area of the capital. Rakeysh is from Delhi; so he knows the culture, area and attitudes of people there. Since he belongs to Delhi his experience brought that special something in the script," he added.
The writer, who has scripted all of Mehra's films, shares a great camaraderie with the filmmaker and says he loves working with him because both of them don't believe in following the herd.
"Rakeysh and I share the same concern, philosophies and issues. We are completely in sync with each other. I would like to say that we have our own lane, we don't care what others are doing, we don't follow the herd. It doesn't matter to us whether the film will be a hit or not; what is most important is the story and then complete honesty to the project. That's what connects us," the writer said.
Pandey, who started his Bollywood career by writing the dialogues of Jalwa (1987), went on to become a full-fledged scriptwriter with hit film Tezaab. He went on to pen movies like Chalbaaz, Dil, Saudagar, Khalnayak and Zinda.
Currently, the writer has various films in his kitty - B.R. Productions' Kohinoor and Consignment, a sequel to Mr. India, Anil Kapoor Productions' next and a big budget science fiction with Priyadarshan among others.