Screenwriter Yunus Sajawal slams his critics and vows to write more slapstick cinema even as his film Judwaa 2 continues to deliver box office gold for a success-starved industry
The critics haven’t exactly warmed up to Judwaa 2 yet it has been received very well by the audience. What is your take on this?
I have been writing comedy in the industry for 27 years. The critics never like a comedy film, they only criticise it. If we write films according to what the critics want, my career would have ended in 2-3 years. You can’t afford to make 50 people happy at the cost of disappointing 120 crore people. It is the job of the critics to criticise. Also, many critics, when they turned film-makers, made shit films. They do not have that kind of knowledge. You can’t watch Judwaa 2 the way you might watch Newton. They are different films. For example, Aanand L Rai’s cinema is different. Similarly David Dhawan’s cinema is different. Critics use the same glasses to see all films. I can’t write a comedy film thinking about logic. It is supposed to be fast-paced and entertaining. We are bothered about the audience because it is them who spend the money. It is a product we made for the audience.
Judwaa 2 is one of the first commercial films of this year to do well at the box office. People are looking for content-driven films. What is that one thing about the film that you feel that has connected with the audience?
Ultimately, if we look at Indian cinema, people like to watch commercial films. The new generation wants to make Bollywood films but it is just Hollywood on their mind, mostly. You can’t sell that thinking here. This is the reason why South films do so well. Whenever we (Indian audience) go to the cinema hall, we prefer to watch fights, drama, emotions and listen to good music. The audience is there, the makers are not there. Rohit is there, Davidji is there, only a handful of commercial directors are there. The rest aim to make European kind of cinema or realistic films. As an audience member myself, I want to see larger-than-life cinema. You need to have conviction that the film will do well.
Do you feel Varun Dhawan was the best choice for Judwaa 2?
Varun and Ranveer Singh are the only two boys from today’s generation who can do this kind of cinema. I have known Varun since his childhood. He has seen Govinda perform. His belief in commercial cinema is so strong; he has accompanied his father to the sets as a kid. If any half-hearted actor takes up this kind of role, they won’t be successful. Davidji, of course, wanted to make the film with Varun. He was the only one who could play a Raj or a Prem. After watching the rushes, I called Varun and told him that today, he is the biggest commercial actor.
You have been associated with David Dhawan for quite a while. Tell us about your association with him.
I was assisting Anees Bazmee when he was writing Aankhen. As an assistant, that was my first interaction with David sir. My first film as a writer with him was Haseena Maan Jayegi. This was followed by Jodi No.1, Kyo Kii… Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta, Kunwara, Chor Machaaye Shor and others. Judwaa 2 is my 12th film with him in 20 years!
What are the changes you tried to bring in the screenplay of Judwaa 2?
Varun Dhawan is hugely popular, especially with kids and the youth. I always felt that with Varun, the love story should be very strong. There should be colour. We shifted the location to London to create that ambiance. Varun has done all kinds of films but very less action. We planned to make him do some action. We wanted to present an action image. Judwaa was a huge hit among the masses so we sent Varun to the masses. We lessened the track of the villains and increased Varun and the girls. We also worked on the character to make it interesting. Varun has tailor-made potential and we wrote accordingly.
Coming to your next project, Golmaal Again!!!, what’s in store for the audience?
It is a fun, roller-coaster ride. The audience won’t be disappointed. There is so much entertainment. The emotions are also very strong in the film which is very rare because it is a comedy film. The madness of the characters has always been appreciated by the audience. Everything that they can expect from the Golmaal franchise will be there.
How was it working with Rohit Shetty again?
We have been associated for the last decade. I have been a part of his journey and have seen him achieve new heights. I started writing for him after the first Golmaal. He is like a brother and friend. He has always put in a lot of hard work. He is just so obsessed with his work and so passionate about it. His passion keeps growing after every hit film. He always cares about his unit. He is just one phone call away from everyone. After every Friday release, he looks forward to Monday to start the next project.