Jasvinder Bhat,the writer of Yamla Pagla Deewana 1 and 2,on what writing for a Deol venture entails.
Main jatt yamla pagla deewana,sang Dharamji in the 1975 blockbuster Pratigya. Yamla Pagla Deewana and its sequel Yamla Pagla Deewana 2,try to capture the madness and zestful energy of that song and put all those emotions in a story. It is a call to the craziness hidden in all of us.
The journey began in 2008 after my script won the award at the India Screenwriting Workshop. But my life didnt change even after that. I messaged many big producers and directors but nobody got back. It was a reality check. Everyone wanted to back readymade projects with big names,but nobody wanted to meet a new scriptwriter.
During this time,I was assisting Chandraprakash Dwivedi and he referred me to Sunny paaji. I met him and a half-an-hour into our conversation,he told me I would be writing his next film. This is how I landed Yamla Pagla Deewana(YPD). I couldnt believe that my debut film would be a tribute to Dharamjis 50 years in the industry. And now,we are on the second installment in the franchise. This time too,the pressure is the same the characters have to be unique and belong to the YPD landscape,yet they have to meet the expectations of millions of Deol fans. The Deols have such a larger-than-life image.
The most challenging,yet fun,part about writing the film was to think of the characters and add quirks that will make the Deols even more endearing. I watched a lot of classics of Dharamji and realised he has acted in all possible genres and excelled in each one of them. So I just wrote a role that as a diehard fan,I wanted to see him play. Dharamji is one of the wittiest people I have ever met and while enacting a scene,he would invariably come up with a funny line that will have the unit in splits while the shot is on. He has a child-like mischievousness which shows he is still young at heart. That is the reason why his character in YPD treats his son,Gajodhar,more like a friend. They dance and drink together and he constantly advises Gajodhar how to woo women.
Sunny Deols character of Paramveer is very close to him in real life soft-spoken,well-mannered,believing in principles and disciplined. Very few people know that Sunny is a teetotaler and we often wondered aloud about what would happen if Sunny Deol had too much to drink. That was trigger enough for me to sketch the character of Paramveer as someone who goes out of control after drinking. This also led to the famous baalti scene in YPD. Unlike his screen image,Sunny is fun loving with a great sense of humor and this was brought forth in scenes where he spoofs his hand-pump scene. He also yells loudly and the goons go flying. He was also sporting enough to get beaten up by his Canadian wife in a scene in YPD (though I still cant figure out how we got away with that one,because Sunny Deol is invincible).
One of the most unique aspects of YPD and YPD2 is the equation Bobbys character Gajodhar shares with his father Dharam Singh. The audience was initially shocked when they heard Gajodhar say in the promo Dharam,tu bahut bada kameena hai yaar(Dharam,youre a rogue). It just gave a fresh twist to the father-son equation we usually see in films and a complete contrast to the dutiful son he is in real life. He won a lot of hearts playing the lovable conman Gajodhar who could make people believe that alcohol was coming out of a well.
I still remember when Bobby first burst on to the screen,he was a style icon. Men in my locality in Kolkata used to take pride in buying the Bobby Deol Jacket and the Bobby Deol Sunglasses. These images have stayed with me and we will see him in his most stylish avatar in YPD2 as his character pulls off the con of his life with the utmost sophistication.
One thing that I always do when my film releases is to buy tickets to the first row,sit through the film while turning back and looking at multitude of faces lost in my story,bursting into peals of laughter,whistling and clapping. Those priceless moments are what I treasure and they keep me going with the scripts. I hope the same happens during YPD 2.
(Jasvinder Bhat is a scriptwriter)