Creating Money Spinners

Written by Sankhayan Ghosh | Updated: Sep 20 2013, 15:43pm hrs
Tushar HiranandaniTushar Hiranandani
A scene in Grand Masti likens a womans breasts to a milk factory while in another one, one of the protagonists, at the mention of rape, remembers his wife. Balaatkar se yaad aaya, meri biwi kahan hai If the film was deemed obscene, tasteless and irresponsible just by its promos, a huge opening day weekend over Rs 40 crores in three days and its downright rejection by critics have shown the chasm that exists between the intelligentsia and the mass. The films screenwriter Tushar Hiranandani seems to have an answer. If the balaatkar scene, described through a five-minute monologue in one of Hindi cinemas highest grossing film 3 Idiots could get away from being accused of being sexist, and Grand Masti because its touted as a so-called crude film, is attacked, then it shows double standards, he says.

Incidentally, the film he chooses as an example is the same one that he idolises. Rajkumar Hiranis knack of weaving his stories around the most commonplace problems struck Hiranandani as his biggest screen-writing lesson. I can say that 3 Idiots changed my life. Raju Hirani is the baap of all screenwriters in India. He made me change my stance as a writer. I realised this man is picking up common subjects and making great movies out of them, says Hiranandani, who made his foray into screenplay writing with Masti (2004). He tries to incorporate elements that people will readily identify with, such as the sagging male ego of Vivek Oberois character in Grand Masti, which comes under threat with having his wife as his boss in office, or minute traits like the gurgling habits of Paresh Rawals character in Atithi Tum Kab Jaaoge.

He divides his career into two halves, a messy first one that included films such as Naksha, Pyaare Mohan and Daddy Cool a phase he isnt too proud of and the bountiful phase with hits such as Housefull 2, Faltu and ABCD (Any Body Can Dance). I used to lift scenes straight from English movies and cut and pasted them into my screenplay. There was no writing involved. It was like a job and I wasnt enjoying it. I hadnt seen enough of life, and it showed in my writing, which was immature.

Falling in love, and eventually marriage changed everything. I was a miser before, I never used to spend money. My wife made me open my life, says the 37-year old screenwriter. Although he grew up close to showbiz his father distributed films that Inder Kumar produced, while his grandfather was a distributing partner to Dev Anand and Kishore Kumar Hiranandanis stepping stone into the industry was from its lowest rungs. He was a clapper boy on the sets of Kumars film, Mann. Most people consider it as the worst kind of job and the least important. But it gives you the chance to see filmmaking from its closest quarters, with both the directors and actor being closest to you, says Hiranandani, whose wants to become a director.

He has a peculiar way of working, which involves creating scenes by sitting with the director and recording it on audio. It is later typed out by his assistant. One has heard of directors actor, but Hiranandani calls himself a directors writer. To him, the best work cant come out unless it is done in tandem with the director. Its his vision ultimately, he says. It is perhaps his film distribution family background that shaped up his movie sensibilities that seem unabashedly commercial. As long as the audience enjoys my films, I dont care about others. I am not here to win awards. I want my directors to have hit films. But doesnt the desire to have respectability ever cross his mind Do you think I would have written Grand Masti had I cared about respectability, he says.

Hiranandani has a string of films lined up that include Mohit Suris The Villain with Sidharth Malhotra and Shraddha Kapoor; David Dhawans next with son Varun and also films with Nishikant Kamat, two with Kumar, Ken Ghosh and Ravi Jadhav.