Whose Line is it Anyway?

When I was doing the rounds of theatres after the release of Shootout At Wadala (SAW),I was a bit anxious.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published: May 31, 2013 3:31 am

Shootout At Wadala’s dialogue writer Milap Zaveri on his inspiration for writing those heavy duty lines

When I was doing the rounds of theatres after the release of Shootout At Wadala (SAW),I was a bit anxious. It had been pretty long since I had written dialogues for a film. SAW was my big comeback. I had a lot of anger,frustration and pain in me,which I had to express on paper. I had to live up to director Sanjay Gupta’s expectations. I was really overwhelmed when I saw clapping and whistling when the actors in the film mouthed their dialogues.

When a writer usually starts work on the dialogues,he is well aware of the fact that there are certain dialogues,which will get claps and howls. From SAW,I knew dialogues such as Anil Kapoor’s “Police ki goli mein itna loha hai ki ek baar thok di toh khoon mein kabhi iron ki kami nahi hogi”, and Manoj Bajpayee’s “Baadshah ki gali mein aake uska pata nahin poochhte. Ghulamo ke jhuke hue sar khud ba khud raasta bata dete hain” would get applause from the audience. What really surprised me was the reaction to dialogues such as “Jo maut dost ki umar badhaye,woh maut sar aankhon par”. People hooted,clapped and screamed,‘Once more’.

The inspiration for this kind of writing came very early in life. Even though I was born into a business family and we were far removed from films,I had an inclination to watch films,and,more importantly,I enjoyed every kind of cinema. There was a set of five VHS cassettes that were a staple in my house — Sholay,Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi,Jai Santoshi Maa,Vidhaata and Dhaaku Haseena. I watched them on repeat to a point that I knew every dialogue by heart. It is perhaps then that the passion for movies started developing. Amitabh Bachchan movies fuelled them further. The writing and the dialogues stayed with me and I was inspired to think on those lines. Growing up,I was drawn to the movies and that encouraged me to get into films.

When I got into films,it was Sanjay Gupta’s Kaante and Sujoy Ghosh’s Jhankaar Beats, which set me up for the big stage. Kaante was the first film where I could experiment with the melodramatic and hard-hitting dialogues. Similarly,SAW being a gangster drama set in the late ’70s also allowed for this kind of writing. The expectation was huge because Sanjay was coming back after seven years,and I was also making a comeback. But the true pressure is now,when I have been approached to write dialogues for more films. I am writing for Grand Masti,Tu Mera Hero and The Villain. And everyone wants me to repeat the magic of SAW.

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