Screen writer Kanika Dhillon speaks to Manju Ramanan on creating out-of-the box characters in Hindi cinema. Her latest film “Judgemental Hai Kya” walks the untrodden path
How did you arrive at Judgemental Hai Kya?
I have been very excited about this film. Kangana Ranut has an impressive body of work and has range and unpredictability about her and Rajkummar Rao has the very quality. He can surprise you with his histrionics. They were the people I reached out to because I knew that this film is edgy and we need seasoned actors to essay the role. I love cinema that entertains, makes you ponder and pushes boundaries with its content and ideas. Of course, my producers Ekta Kapoor and Prakash Kovelamudi have been fabulous.
What is the recent cinema you have liked?
I have loved Rang De Basanti for paving the path for content, Gully Boy has an exciting thought process. I love Tummbad and the way it explored the politics of greed. And Badhai Ho was such a pertinent film that explored the lives of the elderly and their preferences and choices.
Are you allergic to clichés like most good writers?
The quest is always to have a voice and promote new thought and ideas. And finally, an ideology. My internship at Red Chillies led me to take up independent script writing. After Kedarnath and Manmarziyan, with Judgemental Hai Kya, I have attempted something new- something that walks the thin line between sanity and insanity. I have my next with Benil Matthew that is still untitled and then Guilty– a web-series based on a rape in the college campus. It is a perspective on how women view rape. Kiara Advani has been roped in it.
How do you see biopics that are abundant today?
Biopics are a good thing and they celebrate experiences of the triumph of human spirit. Most actors are doing biopics since it gives them a great scope at acting. Overall, it is a great trend.
Do you feel compelled to write cinema in a certain way?
There is no burden that it has to be in a certain way-because today, people are well aware of isms- feminism, progressive thought, racism, sexism etc. It is a personality thing for me. I am against status quo. But I do know that cinema is a medium of mass influence and it is our responsibility as story tellers to influence well since we do have power over the minds of the audience.
10 films that have redefined Hindi cinema content
Rang De Basanti – For defying typical norms and raising pertinent issues.
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge – Personally, for its times, the film talks about conservatism in a foreign land and rebellion through love
Satya – It gave a spin on the criminal mind. It humanized the criminal.
Manmarziyan – Evoked debate and discussion and some hatred! (Smiles)
DevD – For waking me up to another kind of love.
Gully Boy – For pushing my thought process.
Queen – A revolutionary film symbolizing its times.
Secret Superstar – It reflected a changing mindset in an essentially traditional society and that it was ok to dream.
Pink – It spoke strongly on the consent of a woman.
Amitabh Bachchan – Films of the 70’s