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“The industry tends to judge you by your previous project”

Bhavesh Mandolia is a computer engineer from Vadodara who loves to write. So it was a huge moment, when he watched the credits of OMG! – Oh My God!, a movie based on a Gujarati play Kanji Viruddh Kanji, which he penned, . Mandolia also won a National Award recently along with co-writer Umesh Shukla for the Best Adapted Screenplay for the film.

On Turning Writer

I had always wanted to meet Aatish Kapadia, the famous writer who has written shows like Khichdi and Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai. And it was sheer luck that I did. I began writing along with him and he was a big support to me. I had no idea how to write a screenplay but he liked my honesty and gave me a break. Thus I landed a job at Balaji for a TV show.

TV Helps

I worked with Balaji for a year and I realised even if you don’t know anything about writing, a television show helps you become a master of all trades. Because while you are working on a show, which is daily you come up with ten ideas in a day so you grow as a creative person. It’s the best training ground.

On Writing Plays

After a while I quit writing for TV and started out on my own. That’s when I wrote Gujarati plays with Vipul Mehta. I wrote six to seven plays in a single year! At that time, I wrote Kanji Viruddh Kanji with Umesh Shukla, which turned out to be a super success. Paresh Rawal saw the play and asked us to convert it to Hindi as he planned to make it into a film.

And the Credit Goes To…

The idea behind Kanji Viruddh Kanji was inspired by the Australian film The Man Who Sued God. We bought the rights of the film for our play, and then we decided to make it into a film.

From Play to Screenplay

When you write a play, you watch it more than 300 times during the rehearsals or when it’s on stage. A play has eight scenes whereas you may have 80 in a film. So, increasing the number of scenes and characters is a challenge. Creating scenes for a movie calls for more creativity. You also have to introduce more characters and sketch those characters. Like in OMG!, Mithun Chakraborty’s sadhu character was not designed the same way as it was in the play. For the film, we had to come up with a special feature, get-up and an entirely new look for him. We wrote almost 16-18 drafts before finalising the final screenplay for the film. We have even changed the climax vis-à-vis the play.

Life After OMG

After OMG!, the industry’s perception of me has changed. Now, when I approach someone, with my scripts they at least hear me out.

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