Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews
Cinema is one of the biggest canvasses for storytelling and increasingly many books are being made into movies, even if book lovers will insist that the movie isn’t usually as good as the book. Rarely though, movie scripts are also converted into books. In the children’s space, the biggest publisher is of course Disney that spawns off many reading and activity books from its popular movies and characters.
I was charmed to read Dhanak, the novel, based on Nagesh Kukunoor’s movie that releases this June. Chotu is blind, and his sister Pari thinks she has a strategy in place to get him his eyesight back. Her hopes are pinned on Shahrukh Khan and when she realizes that the actor is in Jaisalmer, off she goes across Rajasthan to plead with him to help them.
Anushka Ravishankar has done a great job of creating a story that does not read like a screenplay! And does SRK finally come to their rescue? The book does provide a clue, so read it!!
Here is an interview with the actors, culled from the Dhanak the book (and edited), with permission from Sayoni Basu, publisher – Duckbill!
Krrish Chabria plays Chotu in the movie. He is ten years old (which makes him eight when they were shooting the film) and studies in class V of Arya Vidya Mandir, Juhu. Hetal Gada is the actor who played Pari. She is thirteen years old (eleven when they were shooting the film) and studies in class VIII of St Xaviers High School, Malad.
tgbc: How did you get the role?
KC: I was picked out of five hundred kids over seven rounds of casting.
HG: I went to the first audition. There must have been about 2500 children there. Then they called me for five more rounds, and finally I got selected for the role. It was the same scene, but I had to improvise each time, and make it more emotional. Before the first round, I had no idea what the story was, even. It was only later that I heard the story and got to know about the character.
tgbc: Have you acted before?
KC: I’ve been acting since I was five years old. I’ve acted in The Daughter’s Dream, Talvar, Phantom and Katha. When I grow up I’m definitely going to be an actor.
HG: I’ve acted in two serials, Bandini and Parichay. I tended to be overdramatic because I had experience acting in serials only! For the movie I had to do a Rajasthani accent, but that wasn’t difficult for me because I have acted in a serial where I had to do a Rajasthani accent. I find it very easy to do different accents, so that’s never a problem.
I want to be an actor and I want to study. My favourite actors are Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone. Deepika is so cool and natural and such a good actor. She has a beautiful figure and lovely hair. Kareena is cute and dances really well.
tgbc: What did you find difficult to do in the film?
HG: In the scene where I faint on the sand dunes, I had to lie down from 8 am to 3 pm in the sand, without moving a muscle. Since sand patterns shift with even the slightest movement, I couldn’t move even an inch through those seven long hours. When it was time for lunch, Nagesh sir fed me himself, apologising profusely. That was a very emotional moment for me.
KC: Nagesh Sir took me a school to see the kids, see how they learnt Braille, how they moved and all that. That really helped. Once I saw them I found it easy to do the role of a blind boy.
tgbc: Did you have fun together on the sets?
KC: After pack-up one day, we had a bet about who would run faster on the sand dunes. Nagesh Sir and I were in one team and Elahe Ma’am (Elahe Hiptoola, Producer) and Hetal were in the other team. We had a race on the sands. The boys team won!
HG: The scene with Chet Dixon was great fun. He didn’t know Hindi, and we kept trying to teach him words, and he just couldn’t say them correctly! It was very funny. And Krrish kept forgetting his dialogues. We had a blast while shooting that scene.
tgbc: Did you both get along?
HG: Yes, very well! We did a lot of masti on the sets. We’d all play antakshari at night, after pack-up, we played games on the phone, Krrish’s father would help us with our studies. It didn’t feel like work at all, sometimes. It was like one big game. We didn’t have any big fights. I’d pull his hair, or he’d poke me—just small, silly fights like that.
tgbc: How did you feel when you saw the film?
KC: I got emotional, but I was also happy and excited. I started crying in the scene where Pari and I were on the sand dunes, and Pari can’t walk, and falls down. When I saw that I got very emotional and I cried.
HG: I come from a very emotional family—my family consists of my mother, my grandmother, my grandfather and me. My life was a lot like Pari’s; we have struggled a lot. So we were emotional, but also happy and excited, because this is my first film. It made me feel that I have finally arrived somewhere.
My school is very supportive. There are lots of children in my school who’ve done small roles in serials and movies. But this is a big deal, because I’m doing the main character. The school has put up posters, and they’ll be taking the students to see the film once it’s out.
tgbc: Is Salman Khan your favourite actor?
KC: Shahrukh Khan is my favourite actor. But Salman is my second favourite!