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Friday, July 20, 2018

What Deols Can Do

Jasvinder Bhat,the writer of Yamla Pagla Deewana 1 and 2 on what writing for a Deol venture entails. Mind the image and the fan base,it seems.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published: May 17, 2013 3:16:31 am

Main jatt yamla pagla deewana… sang Dharamji in the 1975 blockbuster Pratigya. Yamla Pagla Deewana and now the sequel,Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 try to capture the madness,and energy of that song and put that in a film story.

The journey began in 2008 after my script won the award at the ‘India Screenwriting Workshop’. But my life didn’t change. I messaged many big producers and directors but nobody replied. It was a reality check. Everyone wanted to back readymade projects with big names attached to them,but nobody wanted to meet a new scriptwriter.

During this time,I was assisting Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi and he referred me to Sunny paaji. I met Sunny paaji and within half an hour of our conversation he told me I would be writing his next film and that’s how I landed Yamla Pagla Deewana (YPD). I couldn’t believe my luck that my debut film would be a tribute to Dharamji’s 50 years in the industry. And now we are on to the second installment in the franchise. This time too,the pressure is the same — the characters I write have to be unique and belong to the YPD landscape. Yet they have to match up to the expectations of millions of Deol fans. The Deols have such a larger-than life image — something I have to be always respectful of — since I don’t want to get disowned by my relatives in Punjab.

The most challenging yet fun part about writing the film was to think up of characters and add quirks that will make the Deols even more endearing. I watched a lot of Dharam ji classics and realised he has acted in all possible genres and excelled in all,so I just wrote a role from the heart that I as a die-hard fan wanted to see him in. Dharamji is one of the wittiest people I have met,and while enacting a scene he will invariably come up with a funny line. He is still young at heart. That is the reason his character in YPD treats his son Gajodhar like a friend. They dance and drink together and he constantly advises Gajodhar on how to woo women.

Sunny Deol’s character of Paramveer is very close to him in real life—soft-spoken,well mannered,principled and disciplined. Very few people know that Sunny is a teetotaller and we often discussed what would happen if Sunny Deol got drunk. That was the trigger for the famous Baalti scene in YPD. Unlike his screen image,Sunny is fun loving with a sense of humor and this was brought forth in scenes where he spoofs his famous hand-pump scene and also shrieks loudly and the goons go flying. He was also sporting enough to get beaten up by his Canadian wife in a scene in YPD.

One of the most unique aspects of YPD & YPD2 is the equation that Bobby’s character Gajodhar shares with his father Dharam Singh. Audiences were initially shocked when they heard Gajodhar say in the promo “Dharam,tu bahut bada kameena hai yaar”. It just gave a fresh twist to the father-son equations we see in films. It was 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 the screen,he was a style icon. Guys 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 coolness.

One thing I always do when my film releases is that I buy tickets of the first row and then look at the audience,lost in the story playing,laughing,whistling and clapping. Those priceless moments are what I treasure and they give me the impulse to keep writing more scripts. I hope the same happens during YPD 2.

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