“Between The Lines”

IMG_1905Writer Sanjay Masoomm, who is still on a high with the compliments that he’s been receiving for his dialogue of Kaabil, talks to Sayali Parab about the challenges he faced while writing it, and his journey with the film

Kaabil has garnered a lot of appreciation and the dialogue has impressed the audience.

I am really happy. When you receive appreciation for something you write, it’s very encouraging. I am very grateful. I am more than satisfied.

Can you tell us what kind of reviews you have been getting?

I have written 20 to 27 films and this is the first time I have received such a fantastic response. I have been receiving calls from all over India, many from people from the industry. I couldn’t ask for more. The biggest achievement is that the audience is enjoying the movie. I got a call from a friend and he said shows are running house full and that people are whistling while watching the film. This was very pleasing.

The film has a sensitive subject. How did you approach the dialogue for such a film?

I always write keeping characters and situations in mind. In this film, the couple is visually impaired, there was a tragedy and there’s also romance. So I had to balance all these themes. The dialogue for the scenes following the rape tragedy was very important to us and we had to be careful that it didn’t sound regressive. Through the dialogue, we had to showcase their pure love.

What was the challenging part while writing the dialogue?

It’s basically a love story and a love story of two people who cannot see each other. The challenge here was that since they couldn’t see each other, their expressions depended on what they said to each other. So their lines had to elicit vivid facial expressions for the audience to actually feel it. The challenge was… how will they communicate, what will they communicate, and what kind of lines would make them instantly react to each other’s feelings?

There is a small scene where Hrithik Roshan takes Yami Gautam shopping and makes her try on some shoes. When she tries on a pair of shoes and walks, Hrithik records the sound of the shoes in his mind and says, ‘The soul of this shoe is perfect for you since I will come to know how close you are to me.’ Lines like this will not work for a normal, sighted couple, right? So we had to use lines that would underline their romance.

In another scene, Hrithik says it was love at first sight. For a normal couple, this would have sounded very clichéd but for a visually impaired couple, it gives a very different feel. When the revenge angle is introduced, Hrithik obviously couldn’t mouth the usual hero-type lines… ki mein yeh karunga, woh karunga because he was lacking in something.

So we had to write lines keeping in mind his problem and throwing a challenge to take revenge. The dialogue had to sound powerful but also not impossible for the character to do it. The director, Sanjay Gupta, Rakesh Roshan, Hrithik and I took great pains over the dialogue. It was clearly team work.

You had worked with Rakesh Roshan before but this was the first time you were working with Sanjay Gupta. How was your experience working with him?

Yes, I have worked on Krrish but it was my first time with Sanjay Guptaji. When you work with someone for the first time, it takes a while to get into sync with each other. You have to figure out his thought process, the kind of language he prefers, and the kind of dialogue he likes.

When we met, we discussed the script, then he narrated the script to me and told me the kind of feel he wanted the dialogue to evoke. I wrote around 10 to 12 scenes, the initial scenes, and he loved them very much. From the first narration itself, we were on the same page.

For me, it was an achievement that he loved my first narration even though we were working together for the first time. It was wonderful working with him and I hope we can work together again and again. Our relationship was very healthy. He is a very nice person.

What’s next for you?

I am working on Sushant Singh Rajput’s film Chanda Mama Door Ke. The writing is underway and even this film is very challenging since it’s from an altogether different field. It’s a very different world and the film is about the first spaceship of India. Apart from this, there are a few things in the pipeline. 

Sayali Parab
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