Scriptwriter is the first star of the film: Kamlesh Pandey
The Vijay Tendulkar Memorial lecture which is a part of the 17th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) was delivered by Kamlesh Pandey, screenplay writer and chairman of “Film Writer Association”. In conversation with HT Pande shared his experiences of writing some of the well-known films and the current trends.
“I used to hang around during the rehearsals of Ghashiram Kotwal where playwright Vijay Tendulkar himself would be showing actor Mohan Agashe, the minute details of how Nana Fadanavis would behave,” said Kamlesh Pandey, screen play writer, who is known for dialogues for films like Jalwa, Tezaab, Rang de Basanti and Saudagar.
“Tendulkar was always searching the truth, which is hidden in our psyche as wounds and he would rip off our bandages to expose us to that truth through his writing. When I tackle risky subjects I remember Tendulkar and get inspired to write the truth,” said Pandey.
He feels that for a script writer, any kind of material is food for thought, as for a writer, one should try his hand at everything and should not limit himself, and for that a scriptwriter should also expose himself to not just Hindi cinema but to regional cinema as well as the world cinema.
Pandey who was a copywriter got his break in films with Amol Palekar and the film Ankahee which was based on C T Khanolkar’s Marathi play, ‘Kalaya Tasmai Namaha’ which he found rigorous and hence rewrote the play with a new twist and turned the story around to be the premise of Ankahee. “This film created a ripple in the industry so much so that Javed Akhtar still remembers the dialogues of this film,” said Pandey.
From writing for serious issues to creating fun films like Jalwa, to writing story for a film like Rang De Basanti which took six years in the making, Pandey opened up about changes in the screen play writing.
“Idea is like a seed, you have to accept it and make it your own to create a story. But frankly in today’s age, script has no value for sometimes a good script is often on hold for many years,” giving example of Rang De Basanti, “This film happened only because actor Aamir Khan and A R Rahman came on board and then did it really take off.”
According to Pandey, “Scriptwriter is the first star of the film, he writes it on a blank piece of paper, it is only the writer who knows how to fill it. This blank page also tells you how difficult it is to be a writer.”
Pandey was also of the view that Hindi films have given the country a voice by means of songs in the films. “Songs were an important aspect of our films, they could show the angst, sorrow, laughter, happiness, drudgery of life and even welcoming life all through songs, which sadly is lost now days.”
He stressed that when he writes a script, it is for the common man who might be a measly paid puncture repair guy in a small town to the affluent in the big cities. “What matters are finally the audience and their appreciation for the story and the dialogues, after all films are a form of entertainment for them.”