‘We have kept the story of ‘Bhoomi’ as natural as possible'

Debarati Palit
Monday, 11 September 2017

Writer Raaj Shaandilyaa, who has penned Sanjay Dutt's comeback film Bhoomi, talks about the pressure on him while writing the story

Omung Kumar’s Bhoomi is one of the highly anticipated films of this year. And why not? The film marks the comeback of popular actor Sanjay Dutt on screen after three years. The film’s writer Raaj Shaandilyaa is pretty excited about the project. While promoting the film, he says, “Omung Kumar wanted to make something else. But then we worked on this story and from the beginning we wanted someone like Sanjay Dutt to be a part of it. Though we had no confirmation, things worked out.”

Raaj, who was the former lead writer and content director of the reality-based comedy show Comedy Circus, says that as it was Sanjay Dutt’s comeback film, he had live up to the expectations and there was certain kind of pressure on him while working on the project.  “Apart from being Baba’s comeback film, Bhoomi is also Omung’s first attempt to make a non-biopic (his first two films were Mary Kom and Sarbjit). I have been a comedy writer all through my career and I had to write the story in one-and-a-half months,” he adds. The film also stars Sidhant Gupta and Sharad Kelkar.

Sharing further about Sanjay Dutt, he says the actor is very flexible and can easily fit into any character. “The first time I met him, he was shocked to know I am a comedy writer. After he heard the first half of the story, he was crying and hugged me. Baba also shared a few inputs with me. He is a sweet guy, funny and witty,” says Raaj, who is also writing Sanjay and Omung’s next collaboration Malang.

Raaj says that he has made no attempt to show Sanjay Dutt as a character like Baahubali. “It’s a simple father-daughter story and we have tried to keep it as natural as possible. The end is filmy and it was necessary to do that. Otherwise we have maintained a simple storytelling,” he says, adding, “It’s Dangal meets Vaastav kind of story.”

Lately, we have watched several revenge dramas like Kaabil, Maatr and others. How different is Bhoomi?  “Our flavour is different. It’s a big thing when a father takes revenge for his daughter. The characters, screenplay and dialogues are different,” says Raaj, who has a record in the Limca Book of Records for having written 625 scripts in 2013.

When asked about Omung, he says, “I haven’t worked with him before but we knew each other. I had designed sets on television. As a director, he understands every aspect of filmmaking. He has captured the story beautifully. I think we share a great chemistry.”

Apart from Bhoomi, Raaj is also back with Kapil Sharma, with whom he has previously worked on Comedy Nights with Kapil and Comedy Circus. “Our style of comedy is different. The flavour that we had on Comedy Circus was being missed. He understands my comedy and I understand his body language,” he says.

When we point out that audiences are not happy with the content of comedy on television, the writer says that it is because the audience and their thoughts have changed. “There are ways to make people laugh and the audience wants clean comedies, which they can watch with the entire family,” says Raj who is working on a couple of other projects.

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