Screenplay writer Pankaj Dubey will make his directorial debut by adapting for the big screen his novel “What A Loser”, which deals with life in Delhi University’s North Campus.
The Ranchi-born author says the idea of the book “germinated in my heart since I was myself in the North Campus and faced the problems around acceptance and identity coming from a very small town”. He says he had seen this happening with other people also though overnight.
“Non acceptance and intolerance in cities have grown to the level that people are being killed in Delhi. It’s very barbaric,” he says.
According to him, his novel, published by Penguin, is a satirical tale told in a humorous manner. The story has grown with me. I would also like to share that 70 per cent of ‘What A Loser’ is autobiographical,” Dubey told PTI.
Screenplay writing comes naturally to Dubey. “Even if you read my novel, it’s not very conventional.” He is currently working on two projects – “Ek Aadhan Ishq” and developing the screenplay of “What A Loser”. “I am going to direct this book into a film – this will be my directorial debut,” he says.
The main character in the humorous book is Pandey Anil Kumar Sinha (PAKS), who comes to Delhi with precisely three things – his jaded old trunk full of sattu and achaar; a borrowed dream of becoming an IAS officer from his clerk father; and to sleep with a milky white Punjabi girl.
However, PAKS’s goals begin to change when he falls in love, enrols for English classes and finds cool friends. Then suddenly he is pushed to the forefront of college elections
and he becomes a hero.
Dubey, who worked as a script supervisor in Vidya Balan and Imraan Hashmi starrer “Ghanchakkar”, is in love with North Campus.
“I have stayed in the so-called UPSC village – an area around North campus. All the characters in the book are real and many names are real with their consent. And even 95 per cent of incidents are real and true. It’s the diary of someone who has seen North Campus. It’s not just a phase in university but it’s a way of life. North campus is a habit. It’s an addiction. Even today when I come to Delhi, I visit the North campus. It’s like a first crush,” he says.
Dubey, who has established a production banner Sadak Chaap which showcases grass-roots short films, says his book is like a “very beautiful girl who is a stranger whom you meet in a train while travelling. No baggage attached. You get hold of the book and you move on with the sweet memories. It’s like one night stand with a stranger but a beautiful moment.”
So what it takes to write good humour? “The most important thing is to be able to make fun of yourself, crack jokes at yourself, you being at the centre. This is a big practice and it comes by laughing at yourself – your imperfections, insecurities, funny habits. No one else can do anything against you. Using yourself as metaphor – you can narrate humour,” he says.
On what inspired him to write “What A Loser”, Dubey says he has always seen books which have been made thick and boring.
“So, I thought of writing something very interesting for the non readers of the society. I want to convert non-readers into readers by writing very interesting stuff. I want to grow as a writer along with the growth of readership in my readers.”