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‘Experimentation is must for directors’

Screenplay, script and dialogue writer Dheeraj Rattan makes his directorial debut with Saadi Love Story. HT City speaks to him.

chandigarh Updated: Dec 17, 2012 11:18 IST
Navleen Lakhi

It was October 2012, the venue was Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, Chandigarh, and the shoot for a song from Rangeelay was on. Amidst the hustle bustle of the shoot we spotted Bollywood diva Neha Dhupia referring to a guy as ‘Dheeraj sir’.

Intrigued as our lot is, we find the script, dialogue and screenplay writer ‘Dheeraj sir’ on IMDB and discover that besides a number of Bollywood movies, Dheeraj Rattan has also penned down a number of Punjabi movies, giving us a much-needed break from Pollywood’s NRI fixation. Having written scripts of six upcoming Punjabi movies to be released in 2013—Best of Luck, Singh Vs Kaur, Rangeelay, Tu Mera 22 Mein Tera 22, Jatt & Juliet 2 and Saadi Love Story—the writer is now making his debut as a director with Saadi Love Story. HT City catches up with the big shot of Punjabi film industry about the inspiration behind his characters, whether or not the industry is actually growing, and more.

From Mel Karade Rabba to Jihne Mera Dil Luteya and Jatt & Juliet to Taur Mitran Di, Dheeraj gave us a genre that has ruled Bollywood for a while and was probably the best thing to have happened to Pollywood. “Rom-com is the biggest genre—one that will never fail. From Shah Rukh Khan to Raj Kapoor, rom-com has been an integral part of every big shot’s work. Comedy alone might become cheap after a point; romance gives it a wider perspective. Since the genre is here to stay, we might get bored of it if we keep repeating the same old formula of making a film. Hence, experimentation is must for directors,” says he.

Going by his theory, Dheeraj says he has tried to do things differently in his first directorial venture, as he says, “I have attempted Saadi Love Story from a different perspective. Though most of my friends were against it, since they believe that the audience is still not ready for it, I went ahead with my vision anyway. You see, Punjabi film industry is blatantly male dominated. So, I have tried to tell the story from a girl’s perceptive.”

So, where does the inspiration from his stories come from? “First, I see a lot of movies. Second, I am observant, so end up noticing all vibrant, bubbly people around me, who move on to become the inspiration for my characters. Good stories and people are always around us. Before Mel Karade Rabba released, a defining attitude was missing in the heroes of our films. Thus, it was not just the storyline that was different.”

So, according to his experience, is the Punjabi film industry actually growing? “Of course it is. Technicians have started coming in from Bollywood. You also get to see good cinematography, vision, editing and camera work,” shares he. But, there is a certainly something that the industry lacks, and Rattan doesn’t hesitate in saying it in as many words, “The weakest point is that non-singing talent is not promoted here. Cinema becomes big when we have character-based actors. There is a thin line between a star and an actor. We can’t blame anyone for it, since the industry is quite young. So, if we start using actors instead of stars, movies might not do business!”