'I wanted to act, so I wrote the film'
Remember the character of Definite from Gangs of Wasseypur 2 - The gutsy half-brother of the film's protagonist Faisal Khan, who copies Salman Khan's hair-do and leather jackets and of course leaves everybody dumb struck in the climax?
The actor who portrayed the character to perfection and won everyone's heart and appreciation is Zeishan Quadri (28), who is also the writer of the magnum opus. Hailing from Wasseypur, Jharkhand, Quadri decided to take the path less travelled and picked up a pen to eventually become an actor.
"I wanted to act, so I decided to write a film and act in it," he simply puts, while talking to HT City over the phone from Mumbai.
After undergoing his share of struggle to bag a role in a film, Quadri decided to write a film and then approach a director with it. He wrote the story of Gangs of Wasseypur in 35 days, which is based on real incidents, related to the coal mafia and gang wars, and then approached Anurag Kashyap, the director of the film.
"When I met Anurag, I narrated to him the actual incidents which prompted me to write the story. He liked the idea and told me to give it to him in writing. I took 24 hours and first gave him an eight-page concept. After reading it, the first question that Anurag asked me was, "Is all this true?" I told him 85% of it was based on real incidents," he says.
Later, a team of four writers - Anurag Kashyap, Zeishan Quadri, Akhilesh Jaiswal and Sachin Ladia - took six to eight months to complete the screenplay. The film originally was nine hours long, which was later reduced to seven and eventually its present duration of five hours and twenty minutes.
While Quadri received much appreciation for his writing, he was also praised for playing Definite to perfection. But why did he choose to play the role of Definite?
"As an actor, I felt that it was the only character I could do justice to. I could not have played Sardar Khan or Faisal Khan. Besides, after writing the story, if I told Anurag that I wanted to play Faisal Khan, it would have been like blackmailing," he says.
The actor-writer is undoubtedly elated with the response the flick has got from all quarters. "When an actor like Shabana Azmi congratulates you after watching the movie, it of course makes you very happy. The reaction from the audience has been very positive and it feels really nice when people recognise me," he says.
Since the film is a fictionalised account of real-life incidents related to his hometown, was he ever apprehensive about the reaction of people from Wasseypur? "Never. While I was writing the story, I was confident that people will like it, and that is exactly what happened. There are people who believe in drawing political mileage from everything and they did speak against the film, but that section was very small. Most of the people have really appreciated my work," he assures.
After having made a mark with his pen and his acting, Quadri is now busy with his next story.
"Presently, I am in the process of writing scripts and approaching directors. Since nothing is finalised yet, I cannot talk about it much," he says. For all his fans, Quadri assures that he will continue to write as well as act in films. "If I can do both simultaneously, why not?" he signs off.