April 25, 2012 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
"Arey, Juhi Chaturvedi, tu toh badi excellent sperm nikli!," tweets a friend to Juhi Chaturvedi. True indeed, the writer is really the hero of the film. With fluent Punjabi and a convincing screenplay that would put any debutant to shame, Juhi arrives and how! A fresher to story writing and screenplay, Juhi from Himachal Pradesh comes with an advertising background.
She would work during mornings and after putting her daughter to sleep would open her word document and allow her thoughts to flow and after a while Bollywood's first story on sperm donation turns a reality with the writer walking away with all the honours. She says. "I actually lived in Lajpat Nagar that you saw in the film. I'm not a Punjabi but because I lived there I picked up the language.
Whether you like it or not if you live in Delhi you become a Punju at heart. I stayed there for one and a half years and would look up to their liveliness, their full approach to life. I always enjoyed their company and would every day reach home and laugh my heart out, kaisi baatein karte hain, kya bolthe hai!"
Juhi quips that it is quite overwhelming because this is her first film and always wanted to do something that would trigger of a conversation. "A moral or a preachy film was the last thing on my mind, I wanted a film that it is worth their time, would make them laugh and cry and would address a genuine problem. There are a lot of people who don't talk about it openly, it needs a push and after all it's not a taboo, it's about giving life.
The subject can never be late, any time is not wrong to make a point. Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan announced their child..there should be many more people who can do that. Glad that the conversation has started, a few donors have contacted us..this film can hopefully push them."
How did director Shoojit Sircar react to her ideas and draft? "I tried to be true to the process, this is my first screenplay but I really don't know the technicalities. I was new to this and just wrote what came to my mind and whatever I was seeing in my head. Shoojit was very patient with me.
An established director needs to have faith to work with a new person. I worked harder to live upto his belief. Earlier, he was taken back and was thinking what I was talking about when I spoke about sperm donation. Obviously I being a woman has something to do with it but he definitely saw the potential but was a bit unsure if I could pull it off.
How much I really knew is different from writing for a film. A lot of people in the process when they got to know they had a blank expression..like why is she doing this and isn't she happy with her advertising career."
She adds that it isn't difficult for women to break through in Bollywood, if the idea is good it doesn't matter from whom it is coming from. She adds, "I wanted to give an original approach to it..If you consciously follow certain patterns, the originality suffers somewhere, there will be a setback. I had the planning in my mind, and was honestly trying to make a point.
I only made sure that it was progressive in nature and had the potential to stir some emotional people. After the second draft I had a talk with John Abraham, the producer; I could see and it was evident that he wanted to make good cinema." Juhi has begun working on her next project, the working title is "Hamara Bajaj" and it has Ayushman Khurana again playing the lead and John will be a part of it. The story will be set in Delhi.