Posted on : 08/01/2019 04:27pm
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With a sip of tea, we began the conversation with Sudip Sharma, scriptwriter of NH10 and Udta Punjab.
Let’s start with your story before we come to the stories you have written. Tell us about your life, your journey, everything about it.
I was born in Guwahati and studied there till the 10th standard. It was the period when terrorism was making its ground in Assam. That was the reason my father sent me packing to Delhi to do the rest of my studies.
Coming from a very different world of Guwahati to Delhi must not have been very easy?
It was not, you are right. Delhi was very different. I got a cultural shock when I came here. I found Delhi very aggressive in nature, which I still believe it is. The good thing was that everything was new to me, so, there was an excitement to understand the place. I explored Delhi to the fullest and enjoyed every bit of it.
Sudip spent some good 5 years of his life near Sarai Rohilla in Delhi. The cultural exploration was not the only thing he did in Delhi. He studied B.Com and prepared hard to become what his father wanted him to become – a Chartered accountant
Coming from a Marwadi family where being a CA is a ritual, I was expected to excel in it. But I sucked at it. I am a fake Marwadi because I hate Mathematics and Accountancy. But I decided to quit just one night before the exam and called my father at midnight to inform this. He was obviously shocked. He told me to give the entrance or foundation exam at least. I gave that exam and surprisingly cleared it. Actually, I was a very hard-working person, I still am and that is my game. This is the reason I cleared the exam. This is also the reason why I have become a passable writer. I would say I don’t have that much talent but I know how to work hard. It’s a bit like the Rahul Dravid approach.
How did IIM happen to you?
I thought MBA was better than CA, although I was not really excited about that either. It was a fraud played by me. I thought I would prepare for it and fail. Sadly, I got through.
You got through IIM-A!
Yes, I did. And it became a big thing. Now I could not tell my family that I didn’t want to do this because I had already taken this route to escape away from Chartered Accountancy. I thought I would fail and then I would go for literature or may be history but everything was now put to rest.
And how was the IIM experience?
I had a terrible time over there. I did not like it a bit. It was such a competitive place with all the type ‘A’ personalities around. You are failing even if you have scored 90 out of 100 in tests (not that I ever got that much). It was bizarre. I felt I did not belong to that place. Adding to my woes, I had accountancy back in my life. Over there, I decided that this field is not mine and I will have to search for an alternative field.
Did you know that you wanted to enter the world of cinema at that time? How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career?
Only after this depressive period at the IIM. All my life I was a good student, good in studies and it was the first time in my life that I was going away from books. For a boy, growing up in a middle-class family, education is a major rudder and when that rudder is removed from your life then you need another one. That is when cinema entered my life. I began watching films over there. I got exposed to international cinema and I knew I wanted to do something in this field.
Cinema had entered your world but how did you enter the world of cinema?
I think it happened when I was in Asian Paints and came to Mumbai.After four years under corporate masters such as Coke and Asian Paints, Sharma wrote one short film and decided to get out. The decision was made easy because his wife Neha held a steady job. “I wrote to a few of these online film-making communities. Whoever would post ‘I need a writer, but there’s no budget’, I would write back saying, ‘Will work for food.’” Sharma treads lightly over these years of rejection and unemployment. “I had zero craft. It took a good six years before I could churn out a script I didn’t mind having my name on,” he says. Unlike everyone else in the profession of words, a scriptwriter needs a crutch, a film-maker, to take his work forward. “Writing a script means nothing till it sees the light of day; it’s an internal document till then.”By then, I and my friend Puneet Krishna (who wrote Bangistan) started making short films and there I realized that I wanted to write for films. I enjoyed the whole process. So, one day I spoke to my wife and told her I want to quit my job. She gave her support and I quit my job and jumped into writing.
How did you deal with that struggle period as a writer because a lot of those films did not do well?
There are two things. There are people who come to become a writer and there are ones who come to the industry as a writer. I was not a writer when I entered the industry. I wasn’t quite there, I knew I had to work hard to become a half-decent writer. In the initial years, I had to struggle. The kind of talent and writing level you have at a particular point of time, you get the same kind of work as well. Also, I did not know anyone, so it was ought to be a tough period.
Original Link: https://theinterviewportal.com/2017/07/11/scriptwriter-interview/
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