Pink is not just running to packed houses even after one week across the country, it has made a very strong impact into the mind of the Indian audience and have tugged at their collective consciousness more than any Hindi film this year. The hard hitting dialogues of the movie have already become a rage and Eclectic NorthEast brings an exclusive interview of Ritesh Shah, the man who wrote the screenplay and dialogues of Pink. Shah, who started his Bollywood journey by writing the dialogues of Sujoy Ghosh’s ‘Home Delivery’ has penned dialogue of movies like Namastey London and Kahaani and both story and screenplay of D-Day. He has also written both screenplay and dialogue of Airlift and Madaari.
Recently, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan said that Pink has become a movement. When you were writing this film, did you expect it to have such an impact on people after its release?
Shoojit Da believed it will be big – one because of the nature of the subject and the title. But this big even he could not have predicted. I don’t think on these lines at all but I hope to communicate with the audience all the time and what a way we have connected this time!
What kind of research went into making the courtroom scenes look so realistic?
One is research at the text level for the script which me, Shoojit Da and Tony Da did with different lawyers and we also had a lawyer on set. Apart from that we got information from websites. Then there is art direction by Meghna Gandhi which got the court room right to a level of great detail.
Was it decided from the beginning that one of the three protagonists will be a girl from the Northeast? Or was it a conscious effort to highlight the mainland apathy towards North Easterns?
Yes three girls living together was always part of the plot and although people from the North East usually stay together in Delhi, we thought what if one of their friends from the North East was staying with them. Ronnie our producer is from the North East and it was a clear decision to bring such a character alive minus stereotypes in a mainstream Hindi film.
As a writer what do you find more challenging to write- a fictional tale inspired from a real life event like Airlift or a realistic fictional story like Pink?
I find everything difficult. The task of driving oneself to the laptop and type Fade In is itself torturous. I would rather watch a movie, listen to a song, read a book, play with my dog and my daughter. It is like homework in school. You would rather do other things but then you realize you have to do it. It is important so I do it but when I do it , I give it my all.
Who are the writers who have inspired you and which are your favourite movies?
Early influences were Salim Javed as I liked Sholay, Trishul and a lot of their films. Then midway I fell for Vijay Tendulkar whose Sardar I simply loved. William Goldman who did Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Charlie Kauffman who did Adaptation are other favourites. I also like a lot of thriller writers Patricia Highsmith, Raymond Chandler. The movie L.A. Confidential is a huge favourite.
Can you share something about your upcoming projects?
Well up next is Kahaani 2 for which I have written dialogue and then there is a remake of Chef which goes into shoot in October. In January the second installment of Commando will also come out.
As told to Nabarun Guha