New-age Bollywood writer Rohan Shankar has penned the screenplay and dialogues for the new comedy Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari, which released theatrically in the Diwali weekend.
“The story is set in Mumbai of the nineties. There are different factors and a lot of interesting characters in the film. Everything revolves around that world of the nineties, which is middle class and conservative. People who have grown up in the nineties will be able to relate to a lot of things.”
On creating the characters played by Manoj Bajpayee and Diljit Dosanjh in the film, he added: “Manoj Bajpayee is a wedding detective of the 90s. At that time, there was no social media or mobile camera. So it was my task as a writer to make the character interesting even without these. The funny part is that he is just a wedding detective but he thinks he is as big as Sherlock Holmes and behaves accordingly. On the other hand, Diljeet is a simple boy trying to get married but this wedding detective is after his life. They share a Tom and Jerry kind of relationship in Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari.”
With back-to-back remakes being made from South and international films and even television, how much pressure is there on a screenplay writer to create something original in Bollywood?
Rohan feels the effort to set up a proper remake is as much as writing the screenplay for an original script. “My other script, for (the upcoming film) Mimi is based on a Marathi film. But we had to incorporate so many changes for the remake, the hard work and effort was as much as writing something new. For Mimi, I had to give as much effort as my original story, Luka Chuppi,” he said.
“There are a few remakes that were made as it is, scene by scene, like (Telugu original) Arjun Reddy and (its remake) Kabir Singh, because that’s what the director wanted to do. The other way is adaptation. It is important to make adaptations. If I am remaking a South film as a writer, I’ll never do it as it is. I will add my interpretation to it. I don’t believe in remaking a film scene by scene. If I do that, where is my creativity and contribution? ” Rohan added.
Besides writing the screenplay, Rohan has also acted in Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari, in a cameo. “(Director) Abhishek (Sharma) is very particular about casting. There is a character in the film that is short but important, with three or four scenes. Abhishek selected me just by hearing my narration and after auditioning several actors. He convinced me to play the role,” said the writer.
Directed by Abhishek Sharma, Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari stars Manoj Bajpayee, Diljit Dosanjh and Fatima Sana Shaikh in key roles.