As the trailer for Varun Dhawan’s upcoming October comes to an end, you notice something different. The second name in the credits is that of screenwriter Juhi Chaturvedi. While the effort by director Shoojit Sircar and producer Ronnie Lahiri is sure commendable, Chaturvedi has expressed a number of times how it is high time writers claim their due credit.
“At the end of the day, you know that everything belongs to the director. But I would also add that as far as we are talking about the process of creating a film out of nothing, a writer puts in a lot more effort than the other HODs involved with the film. Sometimes, directors come to writers with just a simple thought and from there it is the writer’s job to put in his own words, his own ideologies, his own philosophies, to give the film some kind of form,” expressed Chaturvedi in a recent chat with indianexpress.com.
But that doesn’t mean that Juhi feels any less grateful with Sircar’s endeavour. She added, “It takes a very secure director to do what Shoojit has done. A secure director always knows how much the writer has contributed.”
Does that also have to do with the fact that Sircar is the only director who has made the cut for Juhi? Five projects and all with Shoojit. Juhi replied with a chuckle, “That’s probably because he values my writing style more than anybody else has done.” On a more serious note, she reveals the kind of bond the two share.
“When you spend so much of your thoughts and your mind on a film, it somewhere becomes imperative to find people with whom you share a similar value system. There is a certain IQ level which me and Shoojit have in common and therefore, it is somewhere easier for me to put my thoughts in front of him. I don’t have to explain myself too much and he gets where I am coming from. There is a kind of security because I know that no matter how crazy I might sound, he will be able to see it in its rightful way,” remarked Juhi.
In times when makers run after churning out content in the fastest way possible, Juhi revealed how it took her almost two and a half years to come up with October’s script. But after having lived with the story for so long, isn’t it difficult to hand over the script to the director? “Shoojit is someone who takes me along in the process. It is not like I hand over my script and the umbilical cord gets disconnected,” said Juhi. “So far, my experience has always been that when my first draft is ready, we move to more conversations, discussions and what needs to be deleted or added. I am obviously involved till the last draft of the script and post that, I am there on the sets.”
She added how with October too, she sat with Shoojit at one of the monitors and looked at Varun Dhawan and Banita Sandhu’s performance. “When you have been involved in the ‘process’ to that extent, you don’t really feel that you have parted ways in the early stages of the filmmaking,” added Juhi.
But what’s in it for her? With her consistent presence on the sets, she can see the change in herself as a writer as well. She said, “Now when I sit with my editor on a film, I know where he is going to cut off the scene and I understand his reasons behind the same. So, it has definitely added a certain sharpness to my thought process as a scriptwriter.”
While Piku and Vicky Donor showcased Chaturvedi’s tautly written scripts, she was also involved as a dialogue writer for the highly-acclaimed film Madras Cafe and the unreleased Amitabh Bachchan film Shoebite.
Shoojit and Juhi’s upcoming venture October hits the screens on April 13.