The story of Kurbaan was written by Karan Johar. Did you follow the original plot?
The story was Karan’s. He told me the story. I loved it and started writing the screenplay.
What attracted you to writing?
I’m a commerce graduate interested in films. I used to write my own comic strips and screenplay writing was a natural extension.
How good is your Hindi?
Pretty decent, but not good enough to write dialogues because I don’t dream in Hindi.
You were in advertising.
I joined advertising to get into films and spent two years being a spot boy, clapper boy and doing odd jobs. I realised I couldn’t become a director unless I took the writing route.
How easy was it to get into the ad world?
Very easy. If you meet deadlines and are focused, it’s a meritorious industry.
And were you a Hindi film buff?
I was. I loved Bimal Roy’s Madhumati; Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa and Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam; Yash Chopra’s Deewar; Gulzar’s Mausam, Aandhi, Ijaazat and Ramesh Sippy for
Shakti and Sholay.
What’s more satisfying, scripting, dialogue direction or does one lead to the other?
I think one leads to the other. I enjoy writing for sure. I realise form cannot replace content. There’s nothing if there isn’t a good story.
How did you begin working with Karan?
Karan had called me to write a film after Rang de Basanti. We got talking and felt we could collaborate on Kurbaan.
Is a film on global terrorism a risk or is it an issue that can fetch you a wider audience?
It can fetch you a wider audience but there was no premeditated grand plan. It’s a subject I’m interested in.
How does the finished product look?
I think Karan and I were bang on with the choice and you’ll see it. Kareena is an instinctive actress. Saif is a minimalist and his style is just what the role needed.