Shyam Singha Roy screenwriter Satyadev Janga: If we believe in good content, success comes our way
Debutant screenwriter Satyadev Janga on his upcoming film Shyam Singha Roy, which is slated to hit the screens this Friday
A theatre personality appearing in more than 200 plays, a content acquisition manager for 250 music albums and a script coordinator for a few films, Satyadev Janga’s creative talent is multi-faceted.
Satyadev’s first interest was acting. Not many knew that he was auditioned for a prominent role in Nagarjuna-starrer Shiva (1990). But an accident forced him to alter his plans. He began his tryst with writing as a script coordinator for A Film by Aravind (2005) and shares a close bond with director Puri Jagannadh. “Puri and I knew each other since our early days in Madhu Film Institute. We both gave auditions to Shiva," he says.
Music to films
When he wanted to pursue a full-time career as a screenwriter, Satyadev met director Rahul Sankritiyan after the success of Taxiwaala (2018). "Rahul asked me if I have a script for his next film. It was then I narrated the script of Shyam Roy and he immediately arranged a meeting with Nani garu, who was also pleased with the story and came on board. In fact, Nani garu added ‘Singha’ to the title and renamed the film as Shyam Singha Roy (SSR), only to make it more striking,” begins Satyadev Janga, who is making his debut as a screenwriter with SSR.
Asked what is the inspiration for Shyam Singha Roy? He explains, “Knowingly or unknowingly we don’t believe in a few things and think what we see is only the truth. That’s the nature of human life. But there is more to our lives than what meets the eye. I believe that there are a lot of supernatural elements existing in our universe. Hence, the concept of rebirth or a soul returning to the physical realm in a new body always excited me as a writer. I felt such concepts will always strike a chord with the audience and began my research. In the process, I met a lot of people, who are thoroughly researching on these concepts and conceived the idea of SSR.”
The trailer of the film shows that the story is set in two different timelines -- 1960s and the modern-day and has Nani in a dual role -- one as an aspiring film director and the other being a Bengali revolutionary.
“SSR is just fiction, although the story has a mix of supernatural elements. The story captures the beautiful vibe of old Kolkata and the film is going to be a visual feast. I request the audience to go with an open mind and enjoy the film,” he adds.
On choosing the Kolkata backdrop, he shares, “Bengal has a mysterious and an artistic vibe. The place has been home to several stalwarts belonging to various backgrounds. Bengalis’ intellectual reputation dates to the 19th century and this very distinction has made me choose my protagonist as a Bengali,” reasons Satyadev, adding, “Nani’s character has two dimensions and he breathed life into them.”
The debutant is all praise for his director. “The story of SSR is like a double-edged sword and Rahul has handled it confidently. In fact, he possesses an idealistic view like our protagonist and I think that helped him to understand and execute the film better,” says Satyadev.
Life as a writer
Our conversation veers from SSR to the life of a writer in the Telugu film industry. Sharing that writers were given less importance among the 24 crafts of cinema, Satyadev opens up that a lot of writers are struggling to find their feet in the industry. “I agree that the director is the captain of the ship, but a writer is as important as the director and we also deserve equal respect and importance. Also, there is a notable disparity in remuneration and a writer doesn’t get sufficient time to work on a script. I feel all the writers should stand united to address these issues,” he opines.
Satyadev rues that the job of a writer has been relegated to pampering a hero’s ego or weaving stories to elevate his image. “As long as we follow this trend, a writer will have a dream run and can do wonders at the box office. Rather, they should come out of this zone and should write stories that have strong characters. Take the example of Rangasthalam...the film was a blockbuster because its story is driven by strong characters. Similarly, films like Baahubali Part 1 & 2, Jersey, and Arjun Reddy have good stories and they are being lapped up by audiences across territories. If we believe in good content, success comes our way,” avers Satyadev.
Satyadev has 10 scripts in his story bank and he is now in talks with a couple of production houses for a film each. "My next two films -- a love story and an action thriller -- are set in the backdrop of Hyderabad. Also, I have the script of a commercial thriller, which has a huge span like Shyam Singha Roy. I am planning to narrate it to a big production house soon," he signs off.