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In the King’s Company

Ra One‘s screenplay writer Kanika Dhillon on Shah Rukh Khan and Mumbai.

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor |
May 8, 2011 1:13:30 am

Five years back,Amritsar born Kanika Dhillon,28,gave up her plush job with a multi-national company in London and packed her bags to chase her dream — to write films and work with her favourite actor — Shah Rukh Khan. She was lucky to land up as a screenplay writer with Red Chillies Entertainment as soon as she reached Mumbai. Now,after working on scripts for two television show,Disney’s Ishaan and Hindi comedy play Ghar Ki Baat Hai,assisting Farah Khan on Om Shanti Om and acting as the script supervisor for Billu Barber,her dream of writing the screenplay for a film has been fulfilled. Dhillon is one of the screenplay writers in Khan’s ambitious superhero flick Ra.One,which is scheduled to release on October 26.

One of the lines said by Khan in the Anubhav Sinha directed flick,“I wear a heart”,is already a hit and has been talked about in several interviews with SRK in the recent past. “I wrote it for Shah Rukh. It brings out the purity of intent of a superhero fighting war with his heart and winning it,” smiles Dhillon,who has also penned a book titled Bombay Duck is a Fish,which is the story of a girl following the “fable of Shah Rukh Khan”.

Living in Mumbai has not been a cakewalk for the St Stephen’s alumnus though. “People come to Mumbai to live a dream,for success and Bollywood,and instead they get monsoon,potholes,rent,paying guest woes and bills,” says Dhillon,adding,“Everyone goes through this rigmarole in life and it is only then that you crack the code.”

Already on to writing her second novel,a true story about a Muslim girl called Kalma,and her next film,which will be a romantic comedy,Dhillon has her fingers crossed about the fate of Ra.One. “It can’t get bigger than this. Ra.One will take Bollywood to the next level,” she states. Talking about her role as a screenplay writer at Red Chillies,she says,“It’s because of Shah Rukh that the place is so creatively charged,open to new ideas and views. For him,sky is not the limit. He is a risk taker and believes in growing. Once you’ve worked with him,you are spoilt,” says Dhillon,whose twitter profile describes her as a “voracious reader,compulsive dreamer and addicted to films”.

The time spent in Amritsar also came handy while penning the dialogues for Ra.One. “I have been sort of ambidextrous with languages. I can juggle Hindi,Punjabi and English,” says Dhillon,who pursued media writing at London School of Economics. Her proud mother,Sunita,a professor of English at Government College for Women,Amritsar,beams,“As a child,Kanika was always a keen observer,especially when watching a film. She would comment on how the scene could have been better or perhaps a different treatment or ending could have made the film a hit.” Her English teacher at DAV Public School,Pratibha Panghal,meanwhile,remembers Dhillon for her boisterous personality. “In my English class she used to write poems and prose and now she has written a book,” says Panghal,who also heads the publication department of the school.

Miles away,in Mumbai,Dhillon is happy to have accomplished her dream. “I am a die-hard happily ever after person,who believes in magic,miracles,heroes and superheroes. If you think too rationally,you will never be able to take the leap of faith,” she smiles.

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