In a recent interview with The Hindu about his movie Himmatwala, Ajay Devgn said: “We do lack original stories, but I feel screenplay is more important than the story. There are only about 10 ideas. You have to judiciously mix two or three of them to come up with a new film.”
Devgn’s statement that Bollywood shuffles through only about 10 story-ideas has met with a lot of criticism from iconic Bollywood producers, directors and writers. They feel that Devgn has grossly underestimated the number of stories and there might actually be as many as 15 to 20. The directors and writers of Dus Kahaniyaan have ridiculed Ajay Devgn’s claim; they feel that their film alone had 10 “original” stories, which is why they had to involve so many directors and writers to produce such a landmark film.
Producer Sajid Khan has hailed the innovative screenplay of Himmatwala and told us, “I used only about 2 out of the 10 stories in my film, which might be why the critics gave a 2-point rating to Himmatwala, but I make films for the viewers and not critics.” He was referring to the 2-point rating that the movie received on the popular movie review portal IMDB.
Meanwhile, to support her statement that the story is original, Advaita Kala claims that Kahaani’s story is inspired by her own real life experiences in Kolkata. “The idea of ‘patenting’ my story struck me with all the media hype around the rejection of Novartis patent by the Supreme Court. Their attempt to patent a non-discovery was shameful but it got me thinking about how to protect my original story from becoming ‘the 11th story’ for the likes of Ajay Devgn and Sajid Khan. Why do you think we named the movie ‘Kahaani’, if not to emphasize the originality of the story?”
She was quick to dismiss claims from some quarters that her story was not original either, and was loosely based on a 2007 Hollywood flick A Mighty Heart.
“The patent will help me protect my story so that I can use it for sequels to Kahaani. After all, it’s not so easy to think of ‘original’ stories film after film,” she rationalizes her move and signs off.
Ed. Tanay Sukumar, Ateendriya Gupta