Bollywood writers now rule the roost as directors too

April 29th, 2009 - 9:36 am ICT by IANS  

Prachi Desai By Robin Bansal
New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) They have penned stories that have drawn crowds to theatres and dialogues that got etched in people’s memory. Bollywood writers like Anurag Kashyap and Imtiaz Ali are amongst an increasing number of those who have also carved a niche for themselves as directors after spinning magic with their words.

“Getting into direction is only a zeal to experiment and grow further. It’s only about attempting. Even people like David Dhawan and Hrishikesh Mukherjee became directors from other professions like editing and so with us (writers),” Rumy Jafry, who turned director with the 2008 movie “God Tussi Great Ho”, told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

Jafry, who is currently directing “Life Partner” that stars Tusshar Kapoor, Prachi Desai and Fardeen Khan, had scripted hit romantic comedies like “Mujhse Shaadi Karogi” (2004), “Hero No.1″ (1997) and “Coolie No.1″ (1995).

Apart from Jafry, Anurag Basu, Kashyap, Ali and Anees Bazmee too started their career as writers before wielding the megaphone.

Just like their dexterity in writing, they also cemented their names in the list of successful Bollywood directors, but not without initial failure.

The directorial debuts of these directors sank without a trace. Basu’s “Kucch To Hai” (2003), Ali’s “Socha Na Tha” (2005), Bazmee’s “Hulchul” (1995) and Jafry’s “God Tussi Great Ho” proved to be duds.

Anurag Kashyap may have given the hit “Dev D”, but his first movie “Paanch” (2003) is still to see the light of day. His two consecutive ventures “Black Friday” (2004), which got critical acclaim, and “No Smoking” (2007) too bombed at the box office.

Past industry experiences indicate that writers haven’t been very successful as directors and Bazmee blames a “common perception” in Bollywood for the failures.

“Due to failed attempts in the past, writer-turned-directors in Bollywood have been misjudged. Initially they didn’t get support from the industry because they were tagged unsuccessful. I feel a writer is a better storyteller than a director,” he said.

Some successful writers who failed to make their directorial debuts a success include Sagar Sarhadi, Rajinder Singh Bedi and Sachin Bhowmik.

While Sarhadi’s critically-acclaimed “Bazaar” (1982) proved to be a dud, his second endeavour “Tere Shaher Mein” (1985) wasn’t even released. Similarly, Bedi’s “Dastak” (1970) and “Phagun” (1973) didn’t find any takers. Bhowmik too shied away from the camera after burning his fingers with “Raja Rani” (1973).

Others like Girish Dhamija, Suparn Verma, Neeraj Vora and K.K. Singh followed suit with failed debut projects “Yakeen” (2005), “Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena” (2005), “Khiladi 420″ (2000) and “Veergati” (1995) respectively.

“It is a common trend to follow a mindset until one is successful in breaking the jinx of an initial hit…for that matter, Abbas (Tyrewala) really broke the mould as his first film not only worked but became a cult hit,” said Bazmee, who has written films like “Raja Babu” and “Aankhen”.

Tyrewala, who wrote the dialogues for the hit “Munnabhai M.B.B.S.” (2003) and “Maqbool” (2004), struck gold with his very first film as director - “Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na”. And after that, he only wants to concentrate on his own films.

“I don’t think I’ll have the luxury of writing for anyone else as of now. It takes me around six months to a year to work on a script but then if I do it for other people, I won’t be able to work on my projects and I’m really itching to direct again,” Tyrewala had told IANS soon after “Jaane Tu…”.

Writer-turned-directors have been luckier in the past few years and they have struck back with aplomb despite earlier failed attempts.

After “Hulchul”, Bazmee returned with hits like “No Entry” (2005), “Welcome” (2007) and “Singh Is Kinng” (2008).

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, who writes all his films, also proved himself with his second film “Rang De Basanti”. His first movie “Aks” (2001) was a flop despite having superstar Amitabh Bachchan in the lead role.

“I give out what’s inside me in my stories both as a writer and director as I am both and not just confined to only one domain. Cinema is very personal for me and that’s why I write, produce and direct,” said Mehra, whose last film was “Delhi-6″.

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