A few days ago, Jaideep Sahni got a call from a hockey equipment manufacturer telling him the sale of sticks has gone up 600%. Now, this isn't usually the kind of news that would be exultantly delivered to a scriptwriter, but then hockey hit Chak De India isn't your everyday film.
"I'm not stupid enough to believe that it's going to last," Jaideep shrugs, a uniquely modern Bollywood voice behind an infinitely mixed (Company, Jungle, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Bunty Aur Babli) bag of successes. Trapping him over a late evening cup of bitter espresso, we ask the writer about India and his vision for it.
He fits the bill perfectly. While contemporary writers breaking into the business continue to focus on edgy darkness, Jaideep’s tales are eventually optimistic, revolving around a simple morality. And there is a distinct India focus to it all, even in the gleefully evil Johnny Gaddaar title track.
Describing himself as "a pragmatist veering towards optimism," Jaideep finds an ideal beginning, unpredictably enough, via the insightful origins of Bunty Aur Babli.
Raja Sen met Jaideep to find out what he thinks of the emerging India. An India@60 interview.
Photograph: Chak De India, the movie that revived interest in our national sport, hockey. Inset: Jaideep Sahni
Also read: Life in the real India