Surinderpal Sarao’s special meeting with Surmeet Maavi -the dialogue writer for ‘Punjab 1984’

Surinderpal Sarao’s special meeting with Surmeet Maavi -the dialogue writer for ‘Punjab 1984’ about the movie’s production and other aspects of Punjabi cinema…

In the era of Comedy films, how a serious film like ‘Punjab 1984’was inspired?
I only wrote the dialogues for ‘Punjab 1984’, story is by Anuraag Singh. He lived in Amritsar during ‘Operation BlueStar’. He was very young, but this operation was so hostile that it swayed even the young children. Anuraag says that in his home at Putlighar he listened the gun firings. That’s why he wanted to make a film on this childhood fear. From years, he has kept this story in his heart. As you said that this is the era of comedy films, so no producer was ready to invest on this project. One day Manmorad Sidhu(distributer of ‘jatt and juliet’ in canada) and Gulbeer Sidhu(producer of’jatt and juliet’) decided to produce this film. Then i was contacted for dialogue writing. Even though i am a new writer, say it my good luck that i ended up being an important asset to this film.

punjab 1984

How you see ‘Punjab 1984’ different from ‘Machis’ ,’Hawayein’, ‘Sadda Haq’ that were produced on the same objective?
This film tries to show that how the conditions of that time has affected the life of common man. We have neither supported nor opposed the movement but have focused on the story of a mother and son. This way we have not created a political but an emotional movie.

While writing the dialogues for film, which books, documents and people you referred from?
Operation BlueStar and murder of Indira Gandhi were two incidents that even swayed children in Punjab. I was 10 years old and knew that these events are meant to scare. That time my maternal-uncles were settled in Madhya Pradesh. During that period how they saved their lives by hiding and reached Punjab after losing everything, it took years for details of these incidents to reach me. I felt the fear or terror of that time on personal level.

While writing the dialogues for this film, i went back to the time where i never wanted to go. In climax was it necessary to kill the Hero?
Yes. The story takes such a shape that there was no way to return home, but the irony was that hero wanted to return. People are saying that my dialogues made them cry. In answer i say that i myself cried a lot. That time was so dreadful that every time i watched the film i cried. We didn’t want to climax the film to a point in which the hero kills the wicked policeman and the audience is entertained with the happy ending while leaving the cinema hall. Instead our intention was to make the audience think over the conditions even when they reached their homes.

If the hero were not dead then the main aim would have ended. After this, what type of films would you write for?
I would write for the films which will touch my heart. The film that doesn’t touches my heart, how will it touch audience’s heart. I desire to feel the film while i write it. Let it be a comedy or action movie, but must hold the entertainment value.

Before ‘Punjab 1984’ how was the journey of story and dialogue writing?
After graduating from Journalism, the time i worked for a newspaper printed at Chandigarh, i realised that i am not meant for Journalism. So i left the job and headed towards Mumbai. There in congregation of Barry Dhillon, i learnt to write for T.V, and i wrote story and dialogues for the serials like ‘Lakeeran’, ‘Daane Anaar de’ and ‘Dupatta’ etc. Then i wrote screen play for a Hindi serial ‘Kahin to milegi’. Meanwhile i worked for channels like Balle Balle, MH1, Channel Punjab etc. I worked as a writer for 4-5 years in MH1.After the journey of 15 years, i got the work to write dialogues for movie ‘Punjab 1984’. Recently i worked for another Punjabi and Hindi film, which will release soon.

Is the film politically justifying the sensitive issues while portraying it on screen?
The writer or the producer can’t keep the regard for everyone while portraying the sensitive issues on screen. He only presents his own opinion.

The point to be noticed is whether he is able to present his opinion in a sentimental and artistic way before the audience?
To stand by ideology we have documentary films. The difference between a main stream film and a documentary is same as between a book of literature and record.

Both are needed to make the society wise, but both have different sphere. Commercially where Punjab Cinema does stands?Is it providing bread and butter to all the people involved or only handful of people are benefited?
Punjabi films have the same success rate as the Bollywood. If the number of hit films is 5-6 films out of 27-28, it is well enough. Yeah, the one working on the same storyline were in loss. From past years, Punjabi films has provided employment to many people, some are earning less and some earning good. We still are not able to imagine that a person sitting in Punjab can be an actor or director. Now it’s not required that you need to be a foreigner to be an actor, rather sitting here you can consider it as a Career option.

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