Growing up as a loner who played cricket all by himself,Siddharth Singh was closer to his mother than perhaps any of his friends. It made him more sensitive than one would normally expect of an average guy. Meanwhile,Garima Gupta,whose childhood was spent playing outdoors,matching head to head with his three elder brothers,and father,turned out bit of a tomboy.
Sometimes he understands the female perspective better than me, says Garima,about her partner. Their compatibility,as it turns out,is far more complex than just presumptions of gender neutrality. While both are 34 and reside in Kandivali,where Siddharth and Garima really gel are in their shared love for all things writing from one-liners for the radio ad jingles,where the two first met,to poetry and now screenwriting. The duo make their debut as writers in Sanjay Leela Bhansalis Ram-leela.
There were days during the film when we would spend an entire day just reading poetry and the workload would increase the next day, says Siddharth about their creative sessions. Garima chips in,The film has changed our lives; for the last 2.5 years,we have been living Ram-leela from writing the script,dialogues,lyrics to being present during the shoot,handling the subtitles,Censor issues and even a couple of promos.
The films offer,they recall,was so sudden that they nearly dismissed it as a prank phone call. It was in 2011,while they were working on their television projects that they opened a company called Dukaan that wrote for over 50 reality shows,when they were summoned to meet Bhansali. In half hour,we were in his house,with print-outs of whatever little poetry we could manage to gather in that time, says Siddharth. Within the next couple of meetings,the duo was working on an idea given by the director,that of a modern Romeo and Juliet,with a rustic,raunchy twist.
The two learnt on the job,a big part of which came after a trip to Kutch which Bhansali organised for them. He gave us a car,and said I wont give you any brief,just discover Kutch, says Siddharth. The duo spent 25 days there,absorbing the peculiarities of the region and later inculcating them in the script. In Anjar region,we spotted people attired in traditional clothes while talking on mobile phones. The most striking experience was witnessing the Garba there. Garba in Gujarat during Navratri is nothing like what we knew. We saw some of these guys continue even after 4am,with women doing a sort of headbanging act as a ritual in front of the Goddess. It can be seen in Nagada sang dhol song, says Siddharth,a Punjabi by origin,born and raised in Hyderabad. The script is punctuated with couplets here and there. We had just written the couplets as a natural reaction to the situations the characters were going through,lingering on their mood, says Garima.
Both Garima and Siddharth are married and their families hang out together. We dont even show our poetry to anyone else before we show it to each other, says Garima,who was born in Jodhpur and brought up in Delhi.