Writer Bhavani Iyer is thrilled to reunite with filmmaker Meghna Gulzar and actor Vicky Kaushal for the biopic on 1971 war hero Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and hopes the film would be as remarkable as the trio’s Raazi.
In Sam, Vicky will be seen playing Manekshaw, who was the chief of Indian Army in 1971 when India fought the Bangladesh Liberation War with Pakistan.
Asked if the audience would see a repeat of Raazi magic with their combination, Bhavani told PTI, “I am hoping that would happen. I couldn’t be happier with the Sam we have got in Vicky. He is wonderful and such a brilliant actor.”
The writer, who has penned critically-acclaimed films like Lootera, Black and the recent web series Kaafir, said the challenge with the biographical drama was to find the best story from never-ending research material.
“Writing ‘Sam’ was quite an interesting and challenging process because we had a mountain of research, worth 7,000 pages. We had to find a story from within that, with an engaging beginning-middle-end which is not a chronicle.
“Most biopics tend to be a chronicle of the person’s life – when he was born, then what happened – it’s all interesting to know because you are fascinated by the character. The temptation is to incorporate everything but what happens is your story gets diluted,” she said.
Bhavani said the toughest part was to narrow down the material.
“And not get tempted and say – if this gets left out, it’s ok but whatever we tell, needs to serve the purpose of the larger story. Once we arrived at that, it was breezy.”
The screenwriter said she finished the script, with dialogues penned by Badhaai Ho writer Shantanu Srivastava, in three months.
“We worked on it in a very democratic, unified way. It is probably the first time I’ve done this. I have only worked (on the script) with the director earlier. Shantanu was a part of the process and it worked out wonderfully because Meghna drove it very beautifully.
“As a writer, I am not easy to work with because I know the story in my head, so until I put it down, I cannot communicate and tell you that what you are suggesting doesn’t work. But Meghna knows that about me and the entire process was magical,” she added.
Ronnie Screwvala’s banner RSVP is producing Sam.