Gujarati playwright miffed with Naseer's take on 'Yun Hota...'

Jul 22, 2006 Arpana

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) Well-known Gujarati author Uttam Gada, who has scripted Naseeruddin Shah's directorial debut "Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota", is upset with Naseer, alleging he has arbitrarily "damaged" the script.

"I saw the film last week and the total script was damaged. It is going to damage my reputation too," Gada told IANS.

Gada, a playwright and short story writer, wondered why Naseer had changed "80 percent of the story when he said he liked the script so much".

"I was thrilled when Paresh Rawal, a dear friend, who had read my script titled 'Udaan' recommended it to Naseer. After reading it, Naseer liked it too, and decided to make the film.

"The script was ready with dialogues. We had meetings on the script and Naseer said that he would work on it and make certain changes. I trusted him, so I agreed. But eventually I realised the script was looking weaker and it was going into a different direction.

"When I told Naseer not to make the changes, he said, 'Now you have done your job. Let me take over as a director. Let me make the film from my point of view. I have handled more than 200 screenplays - so just rest assured - I know what I am doing.'"

Talking about the changes made, Gada said that in his original script "Udaan" Konkona SenSharma's character was that of a housewife married into a conservative Marwari family and her mother-in-law wants to keep her in India with her crippled daughter.

"I don't understand what was the need to replace a middle-class Marwari mother-in-law with an American woman?"

Talking about Suhasini Mulay's character in the film, he said: "In my story Irrfan Khan's character is of a simple south Indian guy who falls in love with a 22-year-old dancer and not a 50-year-old woman, as is shown. This angle has changed the entire perspective of the story. And I also don't understand why he changed the stockbroker from a regular north Indian man to a drug-snorting Muslim?"

Gada argues that if Naseer loved the script then surely his characters must have been etched out clearly to get him so involved at the reading stage itself. What was the need then to change almost all the characterisations, he asks.

The film's fate depends upon the script and the onus will be on him if it flops, and it will ruin his reputation, he argues.

"If it doesn't work viewers will question me on what kind of a script have I written. Just as Naseer has built his reputation and goodwill for 30-odd years with a certain quality of acting, I too have built my reputation and goodwill as a writer of certain quality for almost an equal number of years."

Gada says if Naseer has screenwriting skills then he should write his own scripts, not "dismantle and overwrite" somebody else's script.

"I am not passing any judgement about Naseer's capabilities as a screenwriter nor am I staking any claim as to the merits of my script. All I am doing is asking a simple question -- If the script was in such a mess that almost all the scenes had to be rewritten, the story changed, all the characters recreated and the dialogues reworked - then what was there in the original script that Naseer said he loved so much that he immediately decided to make a film on it?"

"If the audience rejects the film I cannot explain to everybody that 'Hey guys! This is not the stuff I wrote! Please, you know me.' And how do I convey to them that the extended toilet talk (in the film) is not my creation!"

Gada has put his original script on his website so that people can see for themselves what changes were made in the original script of "Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota".

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Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota


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