New Delhi: Juggling between advertising, script writing and motherhood, 'Vicky Donor' writer Juhi Chaturvedi is enjoying her new found celebrity status to the fullest. Based on sperm donation, 'Vicky Donor' has made her a star overnight. With some more films in her kitty, Juhi is all set to take Bollywood by storm. Box office success of films like 'Paan Singh Tomar', 'Kahaani' and 'Vicky Donor' indicate that the audiences want much more than formula films from Bollywood, and writers like Juhi are here to stay. Ritu V Singh of IBNLive lately spoke to Juhi Chaturvedi about her journey so far and plans ahead.
While writing the script, did you expect 'Vicky Donor' to be such a big hit?
Being honest, I didn't. We thought the film will become popular among youngsters; however it’s amazing to see even elderly people going for the film and appreciating it. Legendary script writer Salim Khan also liked the film. He invited me and director Shoojit Sircar to his home. He gifted one of his Filmfare trophies to us as a token of appreciation. Another friend of mine told me that if Woody Allen would have been a Punjabi, 'Vicky Donor' would have been his film. The way everyone has accepted the film is overwhelming.
Everyone is talking about the film now and you have become a known name in the industry, how does it feel?
It is a lovely feeling, but I know it's very short lived. I am just trying to stand firm so that I don't get swept away. However, at the same time this has increased everyone’s expectation from me. I will have to come up with a better script next time.
Earlier, many reports claimed that the story of 'Vicky Donor' is based on the life of John Abraham’s friend. Is that true?
No, actually it’s the other way round. We approached John after the second draft of the film was ready. After listening to the script he could relate to one of his friends, who’s also facing a similar problem.
A film on sperm donation is not really common in Bollywood. How did this whole idea started?
It’s just one of the ideas that fell in lap. My thought process started with how a sperm donor’s life would be, what kind of people they are. It’s as important as donating blood. I know so many young couples who are struggling to have a child. Infertility is a big issue and nobody talks about it in our society. I felt, this subject really has potential. I think even Shoojit was a bit surprised when I told him about the idea for the first time. He took some time to think and then called me back.
Were you asked to make any changes in the script to suit the Bollywood sensibilities?
At no point the script was written to make people laugh or anything that needed to be toned down. When you say sperm donation, certain visuals come to your mind and we didn’t want it. 'Vicky Donor' is not about sex education, it is not a vulgar film. We wanted 'Vicky Donor' to be a charming, light hearted film.
If there is something my father wants to discuss with me, he would rather make it a casual conversation and will take me out for a walk. He communicates his concerns very casually and we come back home sorted. Similarly, it is very important that how you tell your story as you can’t afford to demean your subject.
Even an hour long comedy shows on TV are filled with sleazy jokes, how did you manage to stay away from the slapstick humour?
'Vicky Donor' is basically a situational comedy. If you see Vicky Arora’s life or Dr Chadda’s approach, it is very serious. In case of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s films like 'Gol Maal' and 'Chupke Chupke', as a viewer you believe what’s happening in the film. There is a lot of humour, but it’s situational. Therefore, Shoojit and I consciously kept away from the cheap gimmicks while writing the script.
Do you think 'Vicky Donor' is helping the cause?
'Vicky Donor' has brought the subject into the limelight and everyone’s talking about it. In our society, if a female is not able to conceive, everyone starts blaming her. Nobody will even say that there might be a problem with her partner. In a way, 'Vicky Donor' talks about a big taboo. By making this kind of films we are trying to say that yes it happens, but there is a solution as well.
Delhi is almost a character in the film. How do you know Delhi so well?
I am originally from Lucknow, but I was working in Delhi before shifting to Mumbai. I was a resident of Lajapt Nagar. So the film includes my hardcore observation of Delhi Punjabis.
Who’s your favorite character from the film?
This one is really tough for me, I think Biji. She just had a few dialogues but her progressiveness is what really made her click. This was the last character added to the film. Initially we just had Vicky and his mother in the script. Shoojit accepted my idea, but then I was stuck on what to write. Fortunately I could write something interesting for her, and she is being appreciated so much.
Any plans of making 'Vicky Donor' sequel?
Not at the moment, there is no point in doing something which is not as crackling as this one. So if it happens, it will happen on its own.
Do you think remakes and sequels restrict one’s creativity?
The 'Hangover' series is good, and from the box office point of view, people are liking 'Housefull 2' as well. There is a huge market for such films. However, I believe that the magic happens just once; right people at the right time at the right place come once.
Apart from script writing, what else keeps you busy?
I am a full time advertising writer. Most of my ads have been done by Shoojit. 'Vicky Donor' was released on Friday, Monday morning I swiped my card and attended office.
How’s your family reacting to your new found success?
They are very happy for me. I am married and have a four year old daughter. My husband is also in advertising. He saw that I am working on something, but kept quiet as in Mumbai everyone is writing something. He is elated to see the outcome. My parents are in Pune now and they haven’t seen the film yet. May be next weekend, I will drive to Pune and take them for the movie.
Any more Bollywood projects in the pipeline?
I will be writing the script of 'Hamara Bajaj', which has Ayushmann Khurrana in the lead role. I am also writing dialogues for a Bollywood film. In near future, I will be working on a film that has Amitabh Bachchan in the star cast.