Sanjay Dayma - the name might sound new to a few but the man has to his credit the writing of one of the most riveting screenplays of Hindi cinema, Lagaan. That should speak for itself! Dayma debuts into direction with a light-hearted still heart-warming delicious comedy of a bucolic cook who migrates from Bihar to London. In an exclusive interview to IndiaFM the man speaks about Lagaan, Ramji Londonwaley and the journey in between.
You scripted Lagaan and have also been an assistant director for the movie. But still the movie is remembered only as an Aamir Khan, Ashutosh Gowariker or A R Rehman film. Do you think you did not get the due credits for Lagaan?
In principle no! I guess it's true we got much lesser credit for Lagaan, but I guess that is a part and parcel of the learning curve. I now know the power of PR, but I didn't know it then. However I have no regrets about it.
From Lagaan to Ramji Londonwaley how has the journey been?
It's been great actually; in one way I can say it's a life-transforming thing. Because you start of with such a big film like Lagaan and it takes you another 3-4 years to come up with you own project. It's something that makes you really think. But the journey has been phenomenal and I have enjoyed everything.
After writing something as original as Lagaan, why did you choose to remake a Tamil movie 'Nala Damyanti' for Ramji Londonwaley?
I don't agree that it is a remake of that movie; in the proper term it is an adaptation. The germ is the same; the principle has been more nurtured in it. A remake would be really a derogatory way of bracketing it, but I guess that's how people will see. But for me it would never be a remake. I am sure even if Mr. Kamal Hassan sees the film he would be surprised to see what the film has turned out to be. There was great scope for a director to work in the film; a remake would never let you do that. In this film, the potential was there, that excitement was there, that's why it feels as good as a script that I would have written.
Immediately after Lagaan I had a script ready that I was very excited about, I started working on it, I started hawking on it. That script is one of the reasons how Mady and me got together because I had narrated that script to him earlier. It took about two years to put together a lot of things, but I guess it was a bigger budget film for me to start off with for several reasons, and then Ramji… came along.
Why did you retain Madhavan in the Hindi cast as well?
To say the least, because he is a phenomenal actor not only on the basis of Ramji Londonwaley, but we have seen enough of his work and secondly, I had known him even before Ramji… happened, so I was very convinced about working with him. And as far as retaining Mady in the film, well I can say that Mady is the one who actually got me on board.