Scripting a Partnership

In a context of a successful film, it is the lead actors, or on some occasions the director, who garner all the praise. However, with changing times, and content being hailed as king, the writer too has found his voice and the industry has witnessed a resurgence of writer-director pairs. And Abhijat Joshi and Rajkumar Hirani (Munnabhai series and 3 Idiots), Jaideep Sahni and Shimit Amin (Chak de! India and Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year) and Sajid-Farhad and Rohit Shetty (Golmaal series, Singham and Bol Bachchan) have gained credibility as a team.

Another such successful duo is Anjum Rajabali and Prakash Jha, whose last two successful ventures Raajneeti and Aarakshan were praised as much for their writing and direction as for the performances by the lead actors. With their next film, the much-anticipated Chakravyuh, releasing on October 5, the two are looking to strengthen the bond that was forged a decade ago.

Both Jha and Rajabali have been at the forefront of realistic popular cinema in Bollywood. While Rajabali started his writing career with films such as Ghulam, The Legend of Bhagat Singh and Pukar, Jha created his niche with hard-hitting films like Damul, Hip Hip Hurray and Mrityudand. When the two met in August 2002, Jha was looking for a sounding board who could assess his script. Jha's friend, director Govind Nihalani, introduced him to Rajabali.

The writer came on board as a script consultant for Gangaajal. He continued in that capacity for a while, until both began to trust each other. During Apaharan, Jha requested Rajabali to co-write the film. Since the latter was too caught up with other assignments, they roped in Sridhar Raghavan, even as Rajabali continued to oversee the drafts. For Raajneeti, Jha told him that he has to write with him. "I was shocked when he told me that the film was going to be on electoral politics. I told Prakash that I had no clue. He told me that all I need to do is weave it into narrative form," Rajabali states.

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