Bollywood writers Siddharth and Garima on Kabir Singh and Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, Sunny Deol's son's debut film
Bollywood dialogue writers Siddharth and Garima feel that we are going through a phase of misplaced feminism
They have written the screenplay for movies including Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ramleela, Batti Gul Metre Chalu, Toilet ek Prem Katha and writing for films like Raabta and Brothers. Recently the dialogue "Woh meri bandi hai" in Shahid Kapur starrer Kabir Singh has been lauded by the millennials. They are new-age writers Garima and Siddharth for you. We caught up with the duo for a quick chat. Excerpts:
How was it writing the dialogues for Kabir Singh?
When it's a remake, the biggest difference is the tone and the place where the characters belong. We had to cover the Mumbai-Delhi aspect of this film without letting a jerk come in. The other challenge was to keep the soul of the original alive and discover something new while retaining the essence. It was a mad long ride but a worthwhile one.
While writing dialogues for a star do you have to keep in mind what might suit their personalities?
We always write dialogues for a character. While it helps sometimes when you have a face in mind, the sole focus is to get the character tone and personality right. Given that our actors/stars are now willing to get into various characters and experiment with tones, it makes the dialogue writing even more interesting.
What were the things you kept in mind while preparing dialogues for Shahid?
Shahid is an extremely volatile character who verbalises whatever he feels and says things as they are. This is where one could've gone overboard, but we wrote his rants with that restraint in mind and hence kept it crisp and catchy. We also had to give him the Punjabi and Mumbai undertone depending on where his character lived in the film at a given point. Also what comes out when one is angry, has to sound very real and heartfelt. That challenge had to be handled.
Did you meet him before that? How is he as a person?
Yes. We have worked with him before this extensively in Batti Gul Meter Chaalu. The equation was set there. He is a brilliant actor with an exemplary absorption of the subtext. That always is a plus. As a person, challenges excite him so it's great to have him play the character and take to the lines well.
What's that one dialogue that will earn applauds from the audience in Kabir Singh?
'Woh meri bandi hai' we feel that line was the perfect crack! - Love is a flawed emotion. Two people own each other without actually saying so. These days a section of our society has become too touchy. Also, we have always seen our heroes as pure and heroines even purer. So, when a grey and flawed character falls in love and reacts to certain situations, it's obvious that people judge him/her. So, the dialogue "Woh meri bandi hai" had touched that zone that exists in every person that they ignore.
It doesn't mean that grey and flawed characters have no right to love. We would applaud a possessive, abusive "girl" character of gully boy but pass judgements on a Kabir Singh when he says this. It's an age of misplaced feminism and that's sad. Leela had said "Mujhe dhokha diya toh uda dungi". That was the sense of ownership she had over the Ram. Just like Kabir has on Preeti. That's the love that the world has forgotten.
Why do you think nowadays dialogues no longer become immortal?
The cinematic factor we feel has gone out of our films. Now the writer gets to hear that 'the line should not sound like a line' comment very often and that is a deterrent to the spirit of dialogue writing. Though we have always pushed the boundaries, from our first film Ramleela onwards. We like to write lines that make an impact because we strongly feel that dialogue impacts the screenplay. How in real life relationships are formed or soured over 'things people say'. We believe that the 'dialogue' of a film is the most commercial entity.
What are your future projects?
First things first, we are looking at directing a couple of our very interesting scripts, which are very close to our hearts. Storytelling is an art and having explored all the other aspects of a film (screenplay, dialogue songs and edits) we feel the need to tell our stories in a cinematic grammar that's our own, which sometimes tends to get lost in translation when we write for other people. Having said that, we are also working on scripts for other people. Those are likely to get mounted by next year. The focus is on our first directorial script on surrogacy.
We have also done a couple of songs for the film Jabariya Jodi and the complete album for Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, Sunny Deol's son's debut film.
Do you plan to make movies in the future?
Yes. Absolutely. That's the natural progression. We'd like to write and make movies for the rest of our lives! Two of them are ready to take flight, rest shall follow!
How was it writing for Ranvir Singh?
The character that we wrote for 'Ram' in Ramleela, we knew was a winner on hands! Ranvir in the very first narration went bonkers and could hardly control his excitement. All in all, it was him - mad, raw and pure. No wonder he played it to the T.
Are there any stars for whom you would love to pen dialogues?
We love to work on scripts that give something back to society. Not necessarily a social issue but something that has a takeaway apart from entertainment. That's the primary ambition - to leave behind work which stays and makes a difference to the viewer's life. The characters we create could be played by anyone who's excited with them. Some of our favourite actors being - Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Tabu and SRK. We would love to write for them!