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Jimmy Sheirgill was not joking when he shared that he and his team had to "chase and catch hold" of film writer Dheeraj Rattan. At a press conference held to promote his first Punjabi film as a director, Rattan smiled and nodded in agreement as he munched on popcorn at Waves Cinema. His film Saadi Love Story hit theatres on Friday. "I am both nervous and anxious," said Rattan, as he shifted restlessly in his chair and made it almost impossible for us to hold a steady conversation.
Rattan seems to be quite the opposite of most writers — he's hyperactive, talkative and excited. He confidently puts forth his ideas and points in rapid succession without any breaks or pauses. But underneath that façade is a "middle class Punjabi lad" with celluloid dreams and a gazillion stories to spin.
Born in Amritsar and having travelled all over the country because of his Air Force background, Rattan revealed that he was a backbencher in school who decided to dropout from the whole rigmarole of education, only to dive into the world of movies instead. "I am a cinephile who lives on a diet of at least two films a day," he said. Language, according to Rattan, is not a barrier. He admitted to watching every kind of cinema and it is these sensibilities that took him to Mumbai where he assisted director Anubhav Sinha. "I made 40 music videos that also launched John Abraham and Bipasha Basu's careers," said Rattan, who has worked with writer Dilip Shukla, who has worked on projects such as Damini, Ghayal and Dabangg. Rattan has also written for television shows such as Piya Ka Ghar and Ek Chaabi Pados Main and was on board as a writer with Vikram Bhatt for 1920, Shaapit, Aagey Se Right, Phhir and Mumbai Salsa. "For ten years I struggled, lived in a chawl, stood in queues to get water and did all kinds of writing work," shared Rattan.